“Mom, we already pulled these weeds! How are they back again?” That’s what Monica asked me the other night as we were admiring some new blooms in our flower garden. And she’s right. We did JUST pull out those weeds and they’re all back again. We’ve tried weed killer and weed prevention stuff and we’ve pulled and dug and mulched. Still lots of weeds.
As I was trying to clear some away, I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve been doing the 👏🏼 same 👏🏼 exact 👏🏼 thing in my spiritual life. Work work work to cultivate the garden of my heart - uprooting and working through old wounds and sins to make room for the flowers and fruits to grow. At times I’ve been able to step back and say “wow, that looks pretty good! That was a lot of great work!” And then I feel content and holy for a hot second, but pretty soon there are a bunch of weeds again - and not just any weeds, the same freaking ones I just worked so hard to eradicate. Same wound, different symptom. Same sin, different manifestation. As soon as I think I’ve gotten rid of it for good, up pops another. And another.
Like, what’s the point? It seems so futile. It can be discouraging and frustrating and daunting. But with each purification, God teaches us something new and we become better equipped to tackle the next round of weeds. And I want to kill those buggers. Because I want heaven. I want intimate union beyond my comprehension. I want to see my baby boy. And I want to bring as many people with me as possible, so I keep fighting the weeds. Not so that I can look pretty and groomed to an outsider, but so that there is room in my heart for GOOD growth. So that the sins don’t choke out the love.
Things you should know about Monica Jane on her birthday:
At first she is pretty shy and quiet - her nervous tick is rubbing her eye - but once she warms up and finds the situation comfortable, watch out. She’ll be the boss.
She LOVES books (see series of pics at various ages) and will study their pages for hours.
She is perfectly content playing by herself, which she does most of the time, but when she’s interested in playing with other kids, she is SUCH a fun playmate.
For as reserved and quiet as she is most of the time, she can be THE LOUDEST by a long shot. And she always takes wrestling and roughhousing to another level. Always.
She is captivated by natural beauty and notices everything - sounds/music, smells, tastes (she has a very sophisticated palate for 4), and of course the visual beauty of flowers, rainbows, trees, clothes, jewelry, makeup, art, decorations, etc.
She doesn’t give a rip what anyone else thinks and will wear/do whatever she thinks best. For example, wearing running shorts under her favorite dinosaur dress for the race last week. Fashion and function. Don’t bother me, mom.
Monica is a fascinating, unique blend of passion, patience, intensity, calm, focus, joy, feisty competitiveness, and snuggles.
I love you so much, MJ! I’m so glad I get to be your momma. Happy 4th birthday!
Wednesday-Sunday we packed in so much fun it’s hard to even process! Highlights include:
Wednesday night mass at GG and Papa’s + bonfire with s’mores.
Thursday park + farmers market trip, water fun, special treats, mass (private mass will never get old, people), sparklers, fireworks.
Friday boat rides + tubing for the first time, jet skis, perfect lake swimming.
Saturday play date with friends with water balloon fights and treats.
Sunday swimming for hours in the neighbors pool while they’re away.
Obviously, the girls are constantly teaching me new things. This last week they (re)taught me to live the moment I’m in. Especially Luci. That girl is all in for any adventure and finds total joy in the moment - not dwelling on the past or looking ahead for something better. Just living the moment. I’m so grateful for these wonderful summer days with family.
As I think back on Friday, the thing I keep coming back to is the Eucharist.
From all different social circles, over 50 people came to our home with one thing in common. The Eucharist. Lately I’ve found myself saying, “Jesus, you better be enough.” Enough to get me through the hard days. Enough to take care of all the world’s problems. Enough to comfort the hurt and heal the wounds. Enough for people to stay in the church. Friday was such an affirmation that, yes, Jesus is always enough. When we place Him at the center, He will always fill the void.
It was the coolest experience to 1) have my brother celebrate Mass in our house 🤯 and 2) to share that with so many friends and family who place their faith in such high priority. Who come for the Eucharist and not the broken people. Who also believe and trust that Jesus will always be enough.
We have such an awesome community and I’m so, so grateful for this life of ours.
Its hard being a firstborn. I say that not having been a born first in my family, but as the mom of a hardworking, affirmation-seeking, quality-time-craving firstborn. I feel myself being harder on her than the other girls simply because I’m experiencing things first with her. And we tend to do the whole “you’re older so you have to do *fill in the blank task that your sisters don’t have to do*.” But there aren’t usually that many perks of being the firstborn. So last night when we were out getting a haircut, Brenna asked if we could go get her ears pierced. We’d talked about it before and said maybe for her birthday, but on a whim, in the name of firstborn love, I said yep! Let’s do it!
She held the tears back almost completely, but not quite. She wanted me to buy matching earrings so we could be twins. And all day today she was walking so tall and confident and said, “mom, I feel so fancy.” I’m glad I let the spontaneity win.