Posts filed under blogging

Catholic Mommy Blogs: Blight or Blessing?

This post might seem a funny coming from someone who is more or less a "mommy blogger" but everything I write comes from the bias of my experience so... I'm writing. I think of myself as more than that title but who am I kidding? I'm a mom. I blog about some mom-ish things. The cringing comes in when "mommy blogger" is used in a derogatory sense. That usage stings and makes me want to come up with some alternative that feels better, such as...

"Catholic Womanhood" blogger
or maybe...
"Middle Aged Woman With Lots of Children, Unsolicited Advice, and a Keyboard" blogger

Definitely the second. 

But I get it. I've been annoyed by mom blogs. Heck, I've been annoyed by my own blog. There does come a point where a Christian writer legitimately asks: "Maybe I should just shut up and live life. Pray more. Find a bridge club."  Except there's this...

The world is full of colorful people: artists, writers, dreamers, teachers, healers, leaders, achievers, contemplatives, activists, musicians ... and God made all of us to seek expression for those gifts. We were created with the innate desire to use our unique talents as His hands and feet... to serve and to love passionately. 

The way God created you to spread the Gospel cannot be duplicated. For some - incredible as it may seem to others - that expression is through blogging. 

The problem with too broadly categorizing a Catholic blogger is precisely the problem with categorizing any soul. It reduces the unique expression of grace to a word or a phrase. To say that I am a "mommy blogger" doesn't offend me at all and I embrace it... but I doubt it accurately and wholly captures what I try to do here or who I am.  

WHY DO WE FOLLOW PEOPLE?

We read blogs for reasons that are as varied as the reasons that we use Google on any given day. Today you might be searching for a better way to clip toddler fingernails. Tomorrow you might be seeking an excerpt from the Summa. We are deliberate in our searches and generally have a purpose. When following individual blogs, that purpose is slightly different because a blogger is on a journey herself and does not necessarily write to a reader's tastes daily. Not all of the reasons for reading blogs are hugely noble, but they are all common to a seeking humanity...

Curiosity
Common interests
Practical tips
Relationship advice
Inspiration
How-to
Consolation
Time killing
Personal connection

The last one is a biggie. For 10 years, it has been a big reason that many of my regular bloggers continue to read. Some of those connections have blossomed into real friendships. And to be boldly honest... during my years of chronic illness and isolation, the blogging internet was an incredible consolation to me. It was my community when my local community was less physically accessible. It was different years ago... not so "professional"... but the common reasons remain the same.

WHY DO BLOGS DISAPPOINT?

  • Because they are created by human beings. Messy people. Messy lives. 
  • Because they are read by human beings: people who filter what they read through their own lens of experience and baggage and suffering and joy. 
  • Because bloggers change when we don't want them to...
  • And don't change when we do want them to. 
  • Because we forget that blog authors are human beings - beautiful, suffering, busy, beloved daughters of Christ - and we hold them to an unmerited standard.
  • Because nothing and no one can truly fill the empty holes that we often go seeking to fill on the internet.

There are two basic complaints against Catholic mom bloggers that I hear most often (and truthfully, have personally expressed)....

1) Everyone is an expert. 
2) Too much money-making/selling

I don't disagree necessarily (and depending on the blog) but there are some lessons in charity to be learned here as readers. I have grappled with them and want to share my ever-evolving thoughts...

1) Everyone is an expert. 

I concede. This periodically annoys me. I (a 39-year old mom of 8) don't want to be told by a 24-year old mom of 2 that she has the perfect parenting tips for raising perfect children. It annoys. But to be fair, there are some 24-year old moms of 2 who could write that post brilliantly and not offend, come off arrogant, or disrespect more experienced humans with a crass click-bait title. In fact, I could actually learn something. 

But it is an unfortunate fact that...

Some beautiful , faithful women are not excellent at blogging, whether it be the writing, communicating, charitable expression, or knowledge of the faith.  

So if those limitations bug me... I don't read those blogs. And consequently, I don't have to grapple with the temptation to react inappropriately. I assume most people who don't care for my work do the same. 

 In fact... I have regular readers who can't stand me. When I manage to write a post that is born out of sincere love and affection... I can guarantee it's still going to drive someone into a bloody rage. (I believe some people must follow my blog out of a sheer morbid fascination with what irritates them.) I do some things well and encourage some people, but I fail miserably with reliable consistency. 

What annoys people the most about me is generally what annoys about others as well... and that is a perception of unmerited authority. I do understand. 

For Catholic bloggers, that can certainly present a problem.... because not every Catholic thinks, believes, or talks like other Catholics. Like the Church herself, we are somewhat wandering, seeking, and clinging to what we believe and how we seek to implement that belief. Add our flawed personalities and... 

That is messy. Incredibly messy. Truly... The blogging community reflects the whole Church. 

My advice to those who are driven to anger and distraction by those bloggers who rankle? Get them out of your feed. Just do it. Stop the drama. Follow a path to greater peace. Focus on Jesus Christ. And if you feel that true damage is being done through the vehicle of a blog and that you are being called to spread a little more truth? Go ahead... start your own. It's fun. It's work. But just know that you'll still need to go to Confession a lot... and maybe more than before. 

2) Too much money-making/selling.

I concede. I hate feeling like a target. It is one of the things that has caused me to balk at the idea of increasing monetary opportunities for my blog. I have stopped following blogs that feel like giant commercials (although I do go back when I need some purchasing direction and sure do visit plenty of secular sites for the same purpose!) But my thinking about monetization has evolved a bit over time and I'll tell you a couple reasons why...

I think it's okay for Catholic moms to make money. 

When I was a new mom, I assumed that my ability to stay home with my kids would remain constant. If things got tougher, I figured we'd just tighten our belts. But experience has taught me that sometimes things get much tougher and that solutions don't fall out of the sky, but must come through much labor and hard choices between undesirable options. I've also learned that good planning during smooth times can hold a family up during the storms. I would not begrudge families the opportunity to earn an income from home through blogging. The details of their need are not my business. 

I want you to know what I know about Catholic mom blogs when it comes to money...

  • Most blogging moms I know do not profit substantially from their blogs even though it does cost them time and possibly money.
  • I have friends who were unable to stay home with their kids until they figured out a way to replace their necessary income at home. They have worked very hard toward a great family good and have been successful. I applaud them.
  • I also know moms who have been able to support their families during a financial or personal crisis or to help toward worthy family goals such as moving to a safer neighborhood or paying off medical bills.
  • Some "mommy bloggers" give blog earnings to families or individuals in need. You wouldn't know because they don't tell people about it. 
  • Many bloggers turn down far more income opportunities than they accept. Because they do care about their readers and being people of integrity. 
  • Bloggers know their readers. Just because I don't follow a blogger who has a talent for frugal fashion (to choose a random example), doesn't mean that others don't. If she is successful, it means that she is working hard and providing value to a lot of people. Good for her. 
  • Financially successful Catholic bloggers work very hard. And like any small business, this effort supports and nourishes Catholic family life. 

Do we really believe that we should be able to read a blog any time we like but that the owner/author doesn't have a right to compensation for time and investment? That is a question worth pondering.

Here is another reason I have softened to the idea of monetizing blogs...

I TRUST YOU.

We live in a consumer culture... and the tension present anytime business meets faith does exist. Heck, our entire interaction with the world is full of tension between the sacred and the profane. Materialism is a beast and one of our first world crosses is that we must constantly fight it. But...

I trust that Catholic readers can navigate the reviews and affiliate links of a blog without overspending just like I trust my readers to go shopping at Walmart or the mall without spending their life savings. I shop. You shop. We all shop... online and at brick and mortar stores. Secular box stores, Catholic small biz, whatever... we shop. I love finding small Catholic businesses and handmade items and knowing what other Catholic moms enjoy reading and wearing and using. If I overspend? That's on me. If I spend too much time online and am tempted beyond my weakness? That's on me. I own it... I don't blame bloggers.

Bottom line? I trust my own readers to make good choices. 

The spiritual struggle for Catholic professionals of any kind is real and the post that I would write for my sister bloggers would look a little different than this one. It would be more demanding, challenging to look deeply into our choices... to remain authentic even while we pursue our individual goals. That's what sisters do for each other. Sisters also know what is true, good, and beautiful about each other in a way that others don't. And that's really what I want readers to remember... the humanity behind the posting... and to exhort to a greater level of charity.

ONGOING DISCERNMENT.

In 10 years of blogging, I have received "perks" but I have never made more than I spent. I have turned down most opportunities to grow because I didn't feel at the time that it was consistent with my purpose here. When my $200 hosting bill comes due in September, I probably won't have made enough via my piddly affiliate links to cover it. What usually happens is that I'm forced to discern whether or not to continue... and then I justify the expense by reminding myself (and my husband) that I save us money by never getting manicures or gym memberships. This IS my splurge. That has been my choice and I issue no complaint...

But as I get older and the needs (physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and financial) of my family increase, I am more and more comfortable placing real value on my time. I begin to wonder if my failure to use this space more for the benefit of my family is actually a squandering of God's gifts. I could ask for donations... I can continue to donate my time... or I could just work really hard to put this investment in the direct service of my family by accepting some compensation.

The question always before me is: Does it serve my vocation? If I can reconcile that to the demands and fruits of blogging, then I sign on for another year...

It is constant discernment. And I trust that all of my Catholic blogging sisters are constantly placing those same questions before their families and their Lord. In charity, let us grant each other a bit of grace in that regard. 

So? Are Catholic mom blogs a blight or a blessing? I guess the answer depends on who you ask, what time of day, what kind of mood they're in, and which blogs we're talking about. Because it's kind of like asking:

Humanity.... blight or blessing? 

In truth, perhaps we have to answer: Both. But in truth and charity... the answer can't really be answered in a blog post. It's like trying to fit a rainforest in a bottle... a star into a mason jar... or a human soul into a "mommy blog."

Posted on January 21, 2016 and filed under blogging, Faith, parenting.

Restoring the Sacred Silence {in Spite of the Internet}

I sat in the dark room with my feverish toddler sleeping restlessly in my arms and my ipad resting on my knee. That piece of technology was dark and dumb... a useless brick. The battery depleted, it had shut down abruptly with a dead sort of blackness. It was done. And I? I was stuck in the silence and darkness with a growing sense of frustration. I tried to think of ways that I could transfer my sick child to the couch without waking her and felt a prick of irritation that she whimpered a bit when I started to move. I felt eager to get away and read... or something. That's what I told myself but I knew that what I really wanted to do was to reconnect with that device. 

As I sat in the darkness and silence, I was alarmed by the state of my soul and consequent lack of compassion for my daughter; and I was alarmed by my urgent pull toward that ipad. Closing my eyes, I tried to pray but was met by a mind full of white noise and scattered ideas and images... and still that lingering desire to be reconnected to the buzzing world behind that mocking black screen. I was startled. What have I become? 

There was a time in my motherhood when my days were full of silence and my nights were completely dark with the possible exception of a small lamp or nightlight. I didn't have a device or a laptop. We didn't have network or cable TV. There was no ipod in my pocket and earbuds attached to my head. Instead, it was hours and hours and endless hours of silence while I rocked and nursed, nurtured and comforted. My mind and soul were raw, unrefined versions of my more mature self and I often marvel that my husband (normally so prudent) chose to invite me, of all people, to walk with him forever. I like to believe that I've improved over time but... there was something very simple and beautiful about our first years together.

It has always been my guilty pleasure to read books while nursing my babies and putting them to sleep. I used to strain my pinky finger trying to hold open the larger hardcover books with one hand and then laugh about what I called my "reading injuries." I can't deny that I was delighted by the introduction of the kindle and the ease with which I could now hold an ebook with one hand! Then two years ago, I upgraded again to an even lighter device. My pinky finger healed well... but my soul was another story...

A light pierced my darkness and it wasn't the light of Christ. It was called an ipad mini. We've been slow to jump on the techno-bandwagon in our house and I never had an iphone or a tablet device before. I assumed I would easily handle the addition to my life and unfortunately, was mistaken. The first year was fine since my knowledge was limited and my apps were few. I slowly learned how to put the technology into service for my family. It has certainly allowed me a greater degree of productivity in areas of my life but on the whole, it has dismantled my peace of mind and brought more noise to my soul than I thought I would ever allow. 

It frightens me somewhat to consider the younger moms out there who have never known what it is like to have silence and darkness without that small rectangular light shining. How can this be good for our world? Many precious things that have come into my life have come because of the extended and unavoidable periods of stillness and quiet. When I first got married, I could not read more than a chapter of a book on theology or philosophy without falling asleep; but over time, I developed that ability through the long lonely hours. I learned to think. I learned to connect with my children. I learned to pray. And I learned to be comfortably alone, quiet, and silent. I grew in very important ways that I am doubtful I could have if tethered (as I am now) to the disquieting world of the internet.

It was for my 37th birthday that my husband purchased the refurbished ipad mini for me (at my request). And as I approach my 39th birthday, I am feeling the urgent call to reclaim my soul from the disruption I have allowed in. It's not going to be easy. I am addicted just like half the free world is. I justify and excuse and find that my will power is in a pitiable state. It doesn't matter that I'm a blogger and can explain my time online to some degree. It doesn't matter if I stay up-to-date with friends and family and the world on Facebook. It doesn't matter if my inbox is full. It doesn't matter if I have work to do for our homeschool or books waiting to read on my kindle app...

None of these things justify the extent to which I have sold my mind and soul to that device.

I consciously embraced this desire for renewal as I recently sat in the quiet dark and rocked my sick girl. But as I tried to go back to the mental silence I had even a couple years ago, I found that I could not. My brain was different. My mind lazier. I seemed to have a bizarre form of acquired ADHD. It was like trying to get a 4-year old to recite Latin conjugations while holding a bowl of ice cream in front of his face and whacking a tambourine next to his ear. Impossible. My prayer life has changed. My search for Christ Himself has changed.

After my daughter finally fell into a deep sleep, I laid down in bed and tried to return, not to the rote prayer that I had recently become used to rattling off, but the prayer of the soul that knows the person of Christ. Several hours later, as the sunrise peeked over the trees, I finally fell asleep... overcome by the mental and emotional fatigue of that strain... and the sadness of soul that knows complete failure.

I was not looking for emotional consolation. I was looking for silence and connection. And the hard truth is that I could not shut off the noise. I could not shut off the noise that I had ushered into my mind and soul and nurtured for the last two years. And all I want now is to go back. I want to be near to Jesus. I want to rest in His Sacred Heart, place my head on His holy chest, and hear nothing but the beating of His very life.

Practically speaking, I can not realistically toss technology out the window. It is useful and necessary in our current culture. As the primary educator of my children, I need to be able to mentor them online as well as off. We use technology daily. But it is clear that I need a concrete plan for personal renewal and healing. The damage is deep and my will is weak. I know I must begin with baby steps or else I will fall back into bad habits. So I have outlined a general plan :

1. Reclaim Sunday
2. Bedroom as Sanctuary
3. Internet Fast on One Week Day
4. Reboot My Intellect and Spiritual Life
5. Be in the Presence of Christ
6. Increase Accountability

1. RECLAIM SUNDAY

This should always have been non-negotiable, but the internet has woven it's way into every sacred space. It is a holy day. A reserved day. So this is my plan to return sacred silence to Sunday...

No ipad unless I'm using it to take photos of a special event (birthday, sacrament, etc.). It is my primary camera so I need to make that allowance. But no ipad internet.

No work on the blog on Sundays. Period. I will never forget the story that Scott Hahn tells about his commitment to honoring the Lord's Day when he was in seminary. He resolved to do no academic work on Sunday even if he had a Monday test or paper due. He planned so that his work would be done during the week so that he could honor the Lord as he ought. The result was that his grades actually improved. My husband has always led our family according that principle by example and rule and we have flourished under it. Recently, I have strayed from that example and used the day to catch up on my obligations. No more. 

No isolated internet leisure on Sundays. I have also used Sundays to justify "leisure" time on the computer in the evenings. Half of the family plays volleyball on Sunday evenings and I have been struggling with envy since I am no longer able to play. I justify "me time" while I watch the younger kids and what that often looks like is me on the computer and kids in front of videos. No more.

“Leisure is a form of silence, not noiselessness. It is the silence of contemplation such as occurs when we let our minds rest on a rosebud, a child at play, a Divine mystery, or a waterfall.”
— Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

2. RECLAIM MY BEDROOM AS SANCTUARY

No internet in my room. When I reclaimed my bedroom sanctuary after years of neglect this past year, I forgot one important aspect because I did not see it as a disruption to my relationship with my spouse. What I failed to recognize was that everything that negatively impacts my spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional health always affects my spouse.

Internet use in bed is easy to slip into with a nursing baby or toddler, because large periods of unoccupied time can pass before release is secured. But for most of my motherhood, I have survived long periods of silence and quiet. For over a decade I have used that time to think, to pray, and to rest. That is until recently when I chose to give it away. I am reclaiming that space. Starting immediately. I have a suspicion that I will find myself sleeping more soundly as well.

3. INTERNET FAST ON ONE WEEKDAY

Fasting is healthy and holy. It strengthens us and gives opportunity for reparation. It helps us define who we are and who we are not. I am not counting Sundays in this number because they are already set aside for the Lord. I am reclaiming that day for Christ because I am obliged to but I am also going to add one day of internet fast to my week. No blogging, no Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter, no feed reader, no news sites, nothing that isn't a part of the essential work of the day (possible exceptions could include bill paying, scheduling, homeschool, etc.). To reclaim my mind, to reorder my life, and to make reparation.

4. REBOOT MY INTELLECTUAL AND SPIRITUAL LIFE

I love the ease of eBooks (and don't intend to eliminate them) but part of this reclaiming has to involve reconnecting the senses to the surrounding world. Touching real books. (The kinds that strain my pinky finger when I try to read with one hand.) This will require setting aside time to be still and purposeful. A reasonable goal for me is one book per week in addition to Scripture and spiritual reading. This has generally been my practice but I have fallen away from it recently in the mad rush to fit internet reading in. The internet is full of valuable resources but sometimes I am guilty of spending more time looking for those gems than actually using them.

My family owns a large library of resources. There is more here to explore and learn than I could hope to absorb in a lifetime. If I never saw the internet again, I would be no poorer for it intellectually and spiritually speaking. Incidentally, I recently received a reader request for some reading material and I hope to share my go-to bookish soul food here soon. (The quotes in this post should give some clues as to which author holds a high place in my study and my heart!)

5. BE IN THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST

Eucharist. In spite of my intentions, I have decreased my time spent with our Lord in the Eucharist and I want that time back. I want to be with Him at Mass and make the time for a regular Holy Hour (it's amazing how life with a big family constantly provides excuses to miss). The last few times I have gone to adoration, I brought reading material or a notebook. The next few times I go, I will go empty handed. I just want to reconnect with Jesus. I want to relearn silence.

“Silence in the Hour is a tete-a-tete with the Lord. In those moments, one does not so much pour out written prayers, but listening takes place. We do not say: “Listen, Lord, for Thy servant speaks,” but “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.”
— Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

6. INCREASE ACCOUNTABILITY

For those of you who are wondering why on earth I am dumping all of this here, I want to share with you one of the most valuable tools that a Christian can have: Accountability. I already have it to a high degree with my husband, excellent friendships, and good confessors. Those relationships are so fundamentally Christ-centered that I can be assured of gentle but firm correction when I need it. I need the friend in California to text me and tell me to "Get off Facebook and go read to your kids." I need the man I married to lovingly remind me of who I am made to be. I need good priests to show me how to place God first and to fight for virtue. In addition to those sources of accountability, I also value this little blog, where I can come and publicly affirm my commitment to a dynamic and authentic life in Christ... knowing that it will be seen and noticed when I succeed and when I fall. That stripping of pride is painful... but the healing and growth is always worth it. 

Perhaps some of you would like to begin again with me...

Because we live in a world where the internet is pervasive and integral to our community and professional lives, it is essential that we learn to live within that context while still retaining our ability to return to sacred silence. Without that, we begin to slip away from love of those things which lead us to Christ Himself... and to lose the ability to hear His voice. 

Our salvation is at stake. I don't write this because I am doing it better than others... but because I am not. I need to change. Will you join me on the journey to spiritual health? What is one way that you can return sacred silence to your soul this week?

Posted on July 17, 2015 and filed under blogging, Family Life, Spiritual Life.

Let's Talk the Big Stuff {Should you be following me?}

So I lost a few email subscribers... and it's okay with me. I wasn't upset or alarmed to see the numbers drop. I'm mostly just surprised that people who were interested enough to subscribe to my email list in the first place would disagree so fundamentally with my position on the recent Supreme Court rulings... which also happens to be the position of the Catholic Church. It's not as if I hide my Catholicity here on the blog. But I expressed my sorrow in that email... and people expressed their disagreement by unsubscribing.

No big deal. But it got me thinking... Do my readers really know me? Does it matter? And I thought Of course it matters. Because on the whole, our reader feed should reenforce the goals that we have for our lives. As Christians, the salvation of our souls should be at the top of the list and if I'm not helping you reach that goal, you should drop me like a hot potato. But if we can help each other pursue Truth, beauty and holiness, we should pursue the relationship. So let's talk the big stuff. The following questions have all been asked of me (in one form another) by other Catholics within the last few months...

WHERE DO I STAND ON MARRIAGE?

I stand with the Catholic Church. Period. (And not with certain shepherds who seem to be struggling with their personal assent to Catholic moral teaching... but THE Church.) I posted this last week on my blog Facebook page:

I tend to do most of my active posting on my private FB page and mostly post blog updates here. So it has been quieter here this week while I have worked out my disappointment elsewhere. But this isn't an issue that will pass, nor is it a topic that should die out after a week within Christian circles. It's not just another judicial overstep in a corrupt political system and its not just about love.

It is devastatingly sad when a handful of activist judges undermine American liberty. They have sidestepped the democratic process to legislate morality on a nation. In doing so, they have not furthered the cause of love but have substantially increased the governments control over our basic liberties. It is not about love.... Because even those who celebrate will eventually suffer under a system that denies basic freedoms to people of faith.

Every blogger out there is writing about this right now and I don't intend to do a specific blog post because it is almost too large for words... I'm not talented enough to capture it all. But it is a part of who I am. I will not be bullied into silence against injustice. My efforts to build a culture of love have redoubled in my home - An increase of prayer, of learning, of living out the Gospel message. My blog will continue to be a place where I pursue that end without compromise.

For some super quick reading and evidence that this is not fundamentally about love, I encourage you to read the updated Facebook status of the Christian bakers who have not only been denied their livelihood but also (just this past week) stripped of their First Amendment rights. Sweet Cake Update

WHERE DO I STAND ON LITURGY?

This is important to people. I was recently asked in a discussion if I was a "neocon or a traditionalist" and I answered: I am a Catholic. But I understand the desire to know more about the preferences and self-identifying labels of fellow Catholics, which is why certain terms can be helpful in some cases. For example, if someone identifies himself as a liturgical or political liberal, I pretty much know what they mean in an American context. The label annoys but it can sure help if cooperative effort is necessary. So here's some additional information about my preferences...

I am neither a traditionalist nor a charismatic. I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and I have seen them at work, but I also believe that the Holy Spirit has guided the direction of the Roman liturgy. Consequently... I think the rubrics ought to be followed.

My liturgical preference (based on my basic understanding of the Church's preference) is for Mass in the vernacular that is celebrated ad orientem, with sacred music, smells and bells, all male altar service, a communion rail, and rock solid preaching from joyful, manly priests. My second choice would be the incomparably beautiful Extraordinary Form. My tie for last choice would be the banal 1970's liturgies (with beauty stripped, priests going off-the-cuff, guitars ka-chinking next to the sanctuary, 42 extraordinary ministers, etc.) and full charismatic liturgies where the emotion too often seems to overtake rubrics (but not always). In the end, I'll take any of these with gratitude - if I must - because.... JESUS.

WHAT PLACE DOES HOMESCHOOLING HAVE IN THE CHURCH?

The saints of Church history have come from all kinds of educational backgrounds and cultural scenarios. God can work through ANY circumstance. That being said, I homeschool my own kids because I have an obligation (if it's within my power) to offer an environment that honors them as sons and daughters of God; emotionally, physically, and spiritually. In other words, homeschooling is not simply an educational choice, but a lifestyle of faith. I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't think it would make an eternal difference. It's too durn hard to be embraced lightly.

Now, do I think you should homeschool? I can't answer that because I don't know your specific situation. I have seen bloggers promote Catholic parochial schools as the best option for Catholic kids. Some of these families are being taught by faithful, young, dynamic religious sisters, strong orthodox pastors, teachers who all sign the mandatum, and community which is largely believing. To be blunt, they've kind of found a Catholic unicorn. They have an option that most in the American Church don't have and promoting Catholic school as the optimal scenario based on their rare gem is perhaps short-sighted. In any case, homeschooling is a beautiful and important option that will become increasingly important (and persecuted) as our freedoms come under fire.

WHAT KIND OF HOMESCHOOLER AM I?

A Catholic one. No, seriously. That's all. I am constantly (imperfectly) reevaluating the needs of my family in order to honor the dignity, beauty, and individual intelligence of each soul under my care. The changing curricula I use reflects that alone and not any specific methodology.

WHAT KIND OF BLOGGER AM I?

I don't know. Catholic? Yes, Catholic. 

IS BLOGGING YOUR JOB?

No. For every penny I have earned blogging, I have spent two. I would honestly love to be able to supplement our family income through blogging but, up to this point, have not. Such material success would have required much more time than I can reasonably take away from my family and probably also more skill than I naturally have. Monetarily successful blogging takes a tremendous amount of time and for many Catholic bloggers, involves a family commitment based on specific need or mission. If you've ever wondered how a mommy blogger is able to "do it all" when you are struggling to comb your hair, rest assured... she's not. She either has a family arrangement that allows more time than you have, hires others to do things like design or social media engagement, or must work to help support the family and has chosen this path to do so. Nobody can vacuum, cook, and write a blog post at the same time, but I caution you: Don't judge. Every family discerns it's own path according to needs. You are likely not ever going to be privy to those particular needs. 

In spite of a desire to make my time on the blog work materially for my family, I have decided to keep affiliates and sponsored posts intentionally to a minimum. I do include them periodically... although never for a group, cause, or product which I wouldn't stake my reputation on. 

My long term dreams for this blog do include the hope of monetary blessing (because, yikes, raising kids can get costly), but that may be a pipe dream. If I do ever come up a couple pennies ahead, it will be because I have finally managed to finish the book or two I have in draft (and convinced a few people to read them) while fulfilling my primary obligations in the home. 

Interested in knowing more about my blogging perspective? You can listen here to Catholic Blogger: Created for Greatness

WHAT IS YOUR PARENTING STYLE?

Catholic. (Are you sensing a pattern here?) After 17 years, I have eaten so much humble pie that I don't even dare try to label what I do. I sometimes cringe when I read the postulating of very young blog moms who will most certainly be retracting their public positions after a later child brings them to their maternal knees. I was an amazing parent when I had 3 little ones and knew the answers to everything... that didn't last long. I periodically give my opinions and perspective here, but with the full knowledge that the Church leaves these details up to individual discernment.

If I had to generalize... I would say that I more strongly relate to the attachment parenting lifestyle than highly structured parenting. I believe (based on my understanding of Church teaching) that we have an obligation to explore the beautiful and natural means by which God has designed us to bear, nourish, and raise children before we commit to other options. Translated, that means I do what is reasonable to birth, feed, and nurture babies in a way that is consistent with my body's natural design. I am not freaky about this... but it is important to me to do my best to reasonably seek that ideal. And no, I don't think you're a terrible parent for doing it another way that honors the health of your family and children.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Did I miss anything essential that you'd like to know? I'll gladly answer those questions for you... just leave them in the form below. If it seems like we can get along reasonably well (or if you don't mind getting to know people whose different ideas challenge you to sharpen your own), you can subscribe to my email updates here: Blossoming Joy Newsletter

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Posted on July 5, 2015 and filed under blogging, Miscellaneous, Ask Me, Womanhood.