Ingrained

We were walking out of a Tiger Scouts meeting when Ben stopped us so we could look at a “cool cloud formation.” Ben, to remind you, is a pilot in the Air Force. He has been fascinated with space and flight since he was a small child. That fascination is so ingrained in him that I don’t think he even thinks about it anymore. Whenever he goes outside, he looks up. It’s like the reflexes that are built into our muscles.

ingrainedI quickly snapped a picture of those clouds, because they were cool. Ben makes me smile when he draws our attention to the sky. There is always a touch of wonder in his voice. He is sharing with me, and with our kids, a small piece of everything he has experienced in his 7+ years flying. It’s as if he’s saying “Look, just look at how incredible this space is. I can’t always take you with me, but I can share this piece with you. Look!”

Ben has been in love with the sky for so long, yet its lure remains. It hasn’t gone stale, he hasn’t moved on to other things. Not every day is easy, but I haven’t known him to have a day that he didn’t want to go fly.

As a Catholic, I want to capture the joy and enthusiasm that Ben has for flight and infuse it into my day. Imagine what my day, your day, could be like if we felt a similar level of enthusiasm for the liturgy or adoration? What if the thing that got me out of bed was the opportunity to read my Bible? What if every time I walked outside the beauty of creation was the first thing that captured my attention?

As a parent, I want to instill this kind of joy and enthusiasm for God in my children. I want them to wake up every day and reflexively thank God for the gift of life. I want them to know so deep in their hearts that God loves them unconditionally. I desire for them to seek out the sacraments, recognizing the overabundance of grace and mercy God wants to share with them. I hope that the foundation of love in our home ingrains within them the desire to know, love and serve God all the days of their life.

Today is Ash Wednesday. It is a day to remember that we are broken, we are flawed, and we are desperately in need.  It is also the first day of Lent, a day full of commitment and promise as we embark on our Lenten journey. For these next 40 days, where are you lacking in enthusiasm and joy for your faith? What are things you can do that can encourage you to deepen your love of God? I challenge all of you, just as I am challenging myself, to rediscover the wonder and beauty of Catholicism. Find a new book, memorize some Scripture passages, commit to an extra Mass or time in adoration. Don’t forget about the free 2018 Lent Lectio Journal. Lent is a more somber liturgical season, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be bursting with insights, discoveries and love.

Announcements, Changes and Updates

Hello dear readers,

You may have noticed that there has been a bit of a lag in posts as of late. I had intended to write up a quick post about the transitions our family is in the midst of, but even that proved beyond my capacity. Now that we are settling into our new “normal” I found myself with an afternoon of USA Women’s soccer, a steaming cup of tea and absolutely no children about, the perfect time to sit back and reflect on what has happened the past few weeks (and then I got way too in the weeds with this story and decided not to edit anything for a few more weeks, so now the Olympics are over, my tea is long cold, but I’ve finally gotten around to finishing what I started).

I may have mentioned, though perhaps not since I am trying to be both honest and open, yet still mindful of the potential dangers the internet offers to those who share too much information, that we are moving!

For the past year or so we have been hoping and praying for our next assignment in the Air Force. There are some many things to consider – location, career progression for Ben, proximity to family, opportunities for the kids, etc. Taking all things into consideration and with lots of prayer we decided to ask for an assignment to pilot training in Texas. Our prayers were answered when Ben returned from his last deployment in April when he was told that yes, we would be moving at the end of the summer to Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX, which is about 2-3 hours west of San Antonio. Ben will be teaching brand new Air Force 2nd Lieutenants (the first rank for officers) on their first aircraft, the T-6 Texan II.

We asked for some extra time off between the assignments, so in early August we packed up our trailer and started a long trek to Illinois. We drove for 5 days with our minivan loaded with rooftop carrier, bikes, and 3 kids, plus our Durango hauling the trailer and the dog. We are so blessed to have wonderful families who are generous with their vacation time. My dad and one of my brothers flew out to California and helped us drive back to Chicago. We were able to spend 3 weeks with my parents and are presently in the middle of 3 weeks with Ben’s family in Ohio. What a blessing for our family, especially our kids. They have never been to the Midwest in the summertime!

This will be a bit of a unique move because it is actually 2 moves in 1. Before Ben can go teach new pilots how to fly the T-6, he has to re-learn it himself as well as receive training on how to be an instructor and trainer. We will be in San Antonio until early March when we will move again to Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX. We will only be 2.5-3 hours from some of Ben’s family in San Antonio which is incredible and we are so excited to be close to them.

On the topic of incredible, God’s timing couldn’t be more perfect. Even though we are moving twice in less than 9 months, we are also happy to share that we are expecting our 4th “gift from God” as John says. Yes, we are pregnant! But God is so good. Remember that big drive to Illinois – probably not the greatest, most fun idea to do when you’re pregnant. But God timed it just right – I was through with morning sickness completely, didn’t get carsick once, and was still only 15 weeks and wasn’t feeling overly large or awkward. Plus, and maybe even better, we are due at the end of January so we will have the baby while still solidly in San Antonio, surrounded by family and well before we will be moving. It truly is a miracle. I’m craving McDonald’s cheeseburgers and asiago bagels (oh I just got super hungry!) and no, we aren’t finding out who this little miracle is until they are born. The kids are having lots of fun trying to decided if they think “Peanut” is a boy or a girl.

So that’s pretty much where we are right now. Lots of transition, lots of new places, lots of please oh please just take a nap (but not too long of one so you go to sleep tonight in another new place).

We appreciate your prayers as we continue with this move. I hope that you all are having a good wind-down to your summer months and are ready to dive into the school year. Next on my list of things to do are a few book reviews I’ve been sitting on and work on putting together a better “teacher’s binder” for our homeschool year. We won’t be starting until we are settled in San Antonio so I’ve got some time yet.

Here are some pictures from our travels so far =)

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Some OH pictures. We celebrated Rosie’s 4th birthday, got to play with Uncle Peter’s new dog, try out stilts and go to a neighbor’s pool. Copyright Kate Taliaferro 2016
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Enjoying some train time in OH. Copyright Kate Taliaferro 2016
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Snuggles in Nana and Papa’s bed in IL. Copyright Kate Taliaferro 2016
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Some IL pictures. Going fishing, helping Grandma J water, planting, boat rides with Clare’s Godmother Auntie Rita and carousel at the zoo. Copyright Kate Taliaferro 2016

Separation

I hope everyone enjoyed the Advent Reflections. In case you missed any, you can always check them out under the “Advent Reflections 2015” tab or the Archive. I enjoyed writing them. I hope they inspired you to have a peaceful and thoughtful Advent.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a more traditional post. Recently, I’ve started subscribing to a styling service. It seems rather silly, to have a complete stranger “style” you – I’ve never been “styled” before and am still uncomfortable with the term. Don’t know why, just am. Anyway, in one of the shipments I received a new purse. I didn’t need a new purse, but it was such a good color and I was drawn to it. It was something I

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The new purse

would have seen in a store, went, wow, what a great purse, but never would have actually picked it for myself. (One of the reasons I’m doing this is to push myself outside of just jeans and simple t-shirts. Nothing crazy, just a bit more put together).

I’m so glad I made that decision. My current purse has become the diaper bag plus purse. There are goldfish and crumbs in every corner, it is full of clothes and diapers, toys and books, my wallet is in there somewhere and I can never find my sunglasses except, ironically, on cloudy days. When we load up with waters and snacks, I’m pretty sure it weighs as much as my 15 month old daughter. It’s just a lot.

I’m fine with that. It’s my choice not to keep my purse and diaper bag in two separate spaces. It’s easier to load up one bag rather than two. But, when I’m on my own (which isn’t often but does happen), it’s a rather ridiculous scene. I have two choices – unload all the diaper bag items, since I won’t need them when I’m at the commissary by myself or on a date with my husband. Or, I can carry them unnecessarily with me, being weighed down by my diaper bag child instead of my actual children.

Enter the new purse. I never thought of option three until it arrived and I needed to come up with a reasonable excuse to be OK the expense. Right now it is sitting empty on its hook. That’s right, completely empty, there isn’t a single thing in it. It is waiting for my next solo trip out of the house, even if it’s just to choir practice. When Sunday rolls around, I will get this beautifully empty purse down and put in it my wallet, some chapstick, and car keys. That’s it. Well, if it’s sunny then sunglasses too but the likelihood of that is slim, even in California right now.

Separate spaces. It’s a novel idea, at least for me. I’m not trying to divide my roles in life, mother – wife – woman. But it is nice to have some breathing room between them sometimes. Yes, I am always a mother even if my children aren’t present around me. But I don’t need to carry all of my “mother” stuff to every place I go. Sometimes it’s nice to focus more on the wife/woman side of things, like when I’m on a date with my husband. Now, when we go out, I can get my wallet out without asking him to hold a can of puffs or a couple board books.

I think that this separation is important, especially in marriages. Ben has deployed now a number of times and when he is gone we skype as often as we can. We have learned the hard way that if we only talk to each other when the kids are around, our marriage suffers. We aren’t able to communicate in a deep enough way when we are being interrupted by stories of the day’s activities, imaginings and sweet but distracting musings of a 3 and 4 year old. We need time to ourselves. It is a healthy thing and one that marriage counselors and experts all agree on (as far as I am aware).

I’m grateful for this purse. It’s helping me identify my desire for and the importance of me-time, marriage-time and family-time. I had no idea when I embarked on a “styling” adventure I’d find this wealth of grace at the bottom of a purse.