A Balanced Plate: A Balanced Life

A few weeks ago I made a ravioli dish for dinner. Chicken, mozzarella, and rosemary. Now don’t get too impressed, it was frozen from Costco. But good nonetheless. We have made them before and usually I toss them in olive oil. This time, however, I happened to have some basil pesto about and pesto is one of our favorite pasta toppings, especially since we figured out Clare can eat it as well.

As you might have guessed, something went wrong with this meal. Though I love rosemary, and I definitely love basil, for me and my palate the two do not mix well. When I made the choice to use basil pesto I forgot about the rosemary in the ravioli filling. Too focused on the chicken and mozzarella I guess. So when we started eating, there was a war in our mouths between the basil and the rosemary. For those who like to keep tallies, the rosemary won.d

Doesn’t life feel like this sometimes? Especially if you are a family with kids, nights and weekends fill up fast with practices, games, recitals and playdates. How do we pick? How do you choose what activities to participate in, which ones to say no to? How do you prioritize?

We are just entering this stage of parenthood. I know things are going to get busy and I know we are going to have to make tough choices. It’s one of the joys and sorrows of having kids spaced so closely together. They do so much together, which is great, but there are only so many hours in the day when they start doing their own things.

We are going to need to evaluate and reevaluate our priorities each time we add or let go of an activity. The key is striving for balance.

balanced plate 2
Seesaw by Gabriel Pollard (2008). Flickr, CC.

Have you ever noticed how on a teeter-totter there is a center point on which the arm rests? It’s easy to focus on one end or the other, or try to find the exact weight needed to achieve perfect balance. But here’s a secret for you – it will never balance if that center point crumbles or is removed. If our lives are likened to teeter-totters, can you guess what the center point is?

God

Hopefully that isn’t too big of a surprise. Before we can achieve balance, we need to have a sturdy foundation to balance upon. Mass, prayer (both personal and communal), service, sacrifice, thanksgiving, forgiveness, praise and adoration – all these and more help us to build our relationship with God, the foundation for our lives.

In light of this, one of my goals for our upcoming school year (yikes! it’s August already?) is to attend daily Mass at least once a week and, if things continue to work out, go to Confession every other week/once a month minimum. We are homeschooling, so 1 daily Mass should be well within the realm of possibility. I am so thankful we have found a couple other homeschooling families that also want to attend. The goal is to try to get to Mass early one day every other week or so and take turns watching all the kids so the moms and those kids old enough can go to Confession. It’s happened twice so far and it has made a huge difference in my accountability, my responsibility and how I am going about my day.

Balance. Be it on the plate or in our life, is difficult to achieve. But difficult does not mean impossible and it is certainly worth working toward. How do you achieve balance? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Catholic T-Shirt Club Box Review

A little box arrived in the mail yesterday for my Rosie. When I found out I would have the opportunity to review the Catholic T-Shirt Club Box, I knew my 4 year old girl would love to review it with me!

Rosie with the Catholic T-Shirt Club box
Rosie with the Catholic T-Shirt Club box

As you might have guessed, this subscription box has a Catholic T-Shirt. You get to pick your T-shirt size, even for little ones. There are different levels of subscriptions, some of which include sacramentals like prayer cards, rosaries or scapulars. Rosie’s box was themed around Padre Pio and his quote: “Do not forget the guardian angel who is always with you.”

Rosie received a t-shirt, a guardian angel craft and a book about Padre Pio. She immediately wanted to jump in and make the craft. Her little angel is in her room now, watching over her while she sleeps. (She named her Rosie, surprise surprise).

Padre Pio kids book
Padre Pio kids book

I think that this box is a great gift idea for so many occasions. Graduation, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, or even as a way to celebrate a special moment like the first month of school. There is even a box that has 2 of everything – perfect for a newlywed couple or as an engagement gift.

Here are a few quotes from Rosie:

A box just for me?!

Wow, I didn’t know a shirt could come in a box!

Mommy, can I make my angel now??

When can I wear my new shirt? I love it!!!

This is a great box and I definitely recommend you check it out!

Rosie's new shirt and angel
Rosie’s new Padre Pio shirt and angel

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Wonder and Awe – The World Through Kids’ Eyes

Happy 2017!! Our 2017 has gotten of to a wonderfully full start. We are so happy to finally have our beautiful baby girl in our arms. Eliza Mary was born in the dead of night in late January and is doing so well. John, Rosie and Clare are fascinated by her and are enjoying learning all the things babies can and can’t do. For the record, if her eyes are open she is quite capable of looking at all 3 kids in 3 different parts of the room at the same time. She is quite talented 😉

DailyGraces.net
Eliza Mary

I must say though, 4 kiddos ages 5 and under is, to quote nearly every person I’ve come in contact with, “quite a handful.” A beautiful handful and I wouldn’t change it. It just takes us longer to get out the door, which is fine. Yesterday’s big accomplishment was making it to the grocery store and home just in time for lunch and timed well enough we didn’t need to stop to feed Eliza while we were out.

While we were out I was gifted (upon reflection, it didn’t seem like a gift in the moment) a change in perspective. We have to cross train tracks to get to the grocery store on base. The tracks are awkwardly placed in relation to the intersections (though I suppose the tracks were there first so it’s not really their fault). This particular line runs only freight trains, which are either long or even longer. Sometimes, as a bonus, the train literally stops while in the intersection. Anxiety always builds as you approach the tracks, “Are we going to get stuck? For how long? Please let us through!!”

So, first time going to the store with the 4 kids by myself, you know my anxiety levels were higher than usual. Which means we got stuck by a train on our way onto base. Of course.

It was alright, it didn’t last forever and was actually kind of interesting (I hadn’t thought about how construction equipment gets from one site to another. Now I know – train). The store went fine and I don’t think we forgot anything – miraculous! We left base at the beginning of the lunch exodus so I expected there to be a back up at the gate as everyone was leaving. While we were waiting in a long line of cars before the tracks the kids started asking if another train was coming in excited voices. They wanted to get stuck by another train.

In my head I was saying “Oh man, please, not another one. Eliza is going to wake up soon. I was really hoping to get lunch on the table before she needed to eat so that the girls could get to their quiet time/nap time on time. Plus there were groceries to put away. No train, please no train!”

Of course, there was a train. It was so long I even took a picture because I had enough time to stare at it and come up with this blog post. My kids were thrilled that there was another train. Their eyes full of wonderment, they kept asking where it was going, what could be inside the boxcars, would there be engines at the back as well or would it be a caboose? Their “awe” was a stark contrast to my own “oh man.” How differently our two perspectives were while looking at this same train. Where I saw inconvenience, they saw infinite possibilities. What I anticipated with pain and angst they anticipated with excitement and pure joy.

It reminded me of G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy when he said:

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

Here were my children exemplifying this marvelous trait. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we adults would exult in our monotony? I am trying to, and I’ve found something that has been helping which I will be blogging about soon.

I hope that today, whatever task you find monotonous, you are able to accomplish it with a spirit of “awe” instead of “oh man.” With that, I’m off to start a load of laundry.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com