Every year, for the last 14 years we as a family, have made our journey to Huntington House, on the central coast of NSW. It has to be our favourite weekend of the year.
We gather with good friends and our family. We come to just relax, enjoy the surf, the food and good company.
This time it was a lovely May weekend. The beach was hard to resist. Several brave people enjoyed the ocean water. The sun was glorious. Laughter filled the air. We arrive Friday evening to settle in and fish n chips are the order of the evening. It’s a great catch up night lasting til quite late usually.
Saturday is filled with relaxing, beach walks and some of us head to the shops for a couple of forgotten items, and just a chance to browse. Saturday night however, is a special night. We pool our meals together. Prepare the tables with flowers and candles. Our friend Phil & I had already searched the yard for flowers we could use as table decorations. It’s his Birthday just after the weekend so a surprise cake & candle are hidden from him until dessert. Dermot always lights the fire in the evenings. It gets quite cold once the sun sets. We usually play a game or two. It’s such a fun filled night. Our Louise is very competitive, just like her Dad. I have a shocking migraine, so I retire to the darkened bedroom to try and sleep it off.
Next morning, Mass is at 10am. So everyone gathers and we car pool to Our Lady, Star of the sea. It has the best Piety stall I have seen, and it’s always a stop after Mass for a prayer card or a statue. Morning Coffee awaits us back at our weekend home, out on the back patio overlooking the beach. Lunch gets started and we procrastinate cleaning and packing up, because its been another lovely relaxing weekend. So around 4pm we succumb to the impending drive home knowing we,please God, will return back next year.
Every month a lovely bunch of homeschool mums gets together to share about different topics. This Month was all about How has Homeschooling affected your Marriage.
Well my initial reaction is: It hasn't. Our Marriage has seen enormous stresses and homeschooling would have to be the least.
I was asked to share my tip, that morning of the gathering. As my friend and I were chatting we decided I should talk about the most effective life changing event that has happened in our marriage.
I immediately began to write my words down and I was very excited about sharing, but....I didn't want to take the night over, so I shared on Coffee time... This was the beginning of really sharing together.
I would like to share my thoughts on our marriage changing event.
One Sunday morning while sitting in our pew at church toward the end of Mass, with our children getting restless, a young couple were asked to share about a mariage weekend. We watched them walk up the aisle, with there 5 children in tow. The lady was expecting her 6th. They shared there story. Dermot leaned over to me...'we are doing that weekend'... Dermot doesn't remember saying it..
The invitation was to a marriage enrichment weekend. This was instrumental in leading us into a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other. How God really fits into our lives as a couple raising our family.
We realised we were keeping him out of areas of our relationship. The sharings over the weekend challenged us in so many ways, but we were determined to love and understand each other better.
It gave us the tools to help us in hard times and a community to fit into for support.
This was our couple conversion. It was when we said "yes" to God in a meaningful way. We allowed God into every part of our marriage, even the mud.
So how can we keep the flame alive? Well there's a little secret.
Once a month there is ongoing support in the way of Gathering evenings, in couples homes. The Gathering groups are easy. We run a Gathering group in our home, and we have done so close on 8 years, give or take a break or two.
These couples are like minded and we share life and support each other. So what do we do on these nights? Firstly we Pray. 'Notes' have been downloaded from the website, we take turns to read them aloud, questions discussed and shared only with your spouse. Supper is shared afterwards. Often this is where the real sharing begins as Couples feel comfortable to share with trusted Friends.
This Community we are involved in also reaches out to the engaged, mentoring them through a one on one program called Embrace.
So the tools we are given from celebrate love weekend are:
Praying for Passion in our marriage and all marriages
" I feel" statements rather than accusing statements. "I feel hurts when this happened".
We have also taken tools from the Embrace model as well. Connect Kiss- 10 seconds at least. Connect Hug- Hug until you melt, Affirm your spouse every day, and let him know what you appreciate about him daily.
So Celebrate Love has opened us to what God wants for our marriage, not what the world says we should have.
Even in our darkest times and hardest struggles, God is our strength and guide. We call to him for comfort. We were deeply tested in the last few years with a very nasty incident, which shook us to the core of our being, and really it could have ripped us apart, but we both clung to God and he was there. We know, we felt his presence and peace.
Every ministry we do in our church is as a couple, every decision is together.
The gatherings and our coffee times give us time to discuss Gods word, any issues unfolding in our childrens lives, and we are united and that's couple power.
Would you like to share your secrets to your marriage?
Louise and I shared a special weekend together very recently. I carefully arranged it so I could attend both the 3rd annual Sisterhood conference, and have our weekend together. Only to receive an email that sisterhood was scheduled the same weekend, as Louise and my special time together.
Was this God intervening? Probably. What had I learnt from Sisterhood? What was God trying to do here? To be very truthful, I felt torn. A weekend of renewal and being fed spiritually, or a weekend with my darling eldest, continuing to laying down the framework of our adult relationship. I WANTED to do both. God had other plans. I was to follow his plan, because what’s the point of friendships, if I don’t have that with my children. So the tickets were booked, the row of seating carefully chosen, lovely accommodation was carefully selected as well. The staff of the hotel documented that this was a mother n daughter weekend. So everything was planning out smoothly. Praise God. Louise has been a dancer since she was 3, and at her very first concert, her class performed A spoonful of sugar, from Mary Poppins. The entire concert, that year was snapshots from this favourite musical ours. Louise was so cute in her little red spotted costume, knee length white socks, red ballet slippers and curly strawberry blonde hair, with a red bow. They pointed their toes and flexed them and looked adorable. Louise chatting to the girl positioned next to her during the performance. Memories. !!!
We have always loved Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews. So this weekend, that I write about is surrounded with many lovely memories and family history. We were to see the Musical MARY POPPINS. It was like a dream come true. I had to continually pitch myself through the weekend. Is this really happening. I drove to Sydney with Louise, the GPS found the hotel and we parked our car with ease. Arriving at the front desk to be given an upgrade. Wow.
Louise & I shared lunch once we were settled in our room, and decided on how to spend the afternoon. Chatting with Louise was easy. We were both pretty excited and happy to be able to spend a weekend alone, with no one interrupting.
Everytime the Sisterhood weekend came into my head, I prayed for its success, because this time with Louise is fruit from the Sisterhood ministry.
So the time arrived for us to get ready. We had worked out where the Theatre was in relationship to our hotel and we had sorted out dinner. I let Louise choose and she is a bit of a Thai fan. That’s Ok, I was happy just to be spending these precious moments with her. A drink in the Bar close by the theatre was another Treat. We had never been in a bar alone together as adults. We both couldn’t wait to see this long awaited musical. Not long now, I said.
Mary Poppins was everything I thought it would be and more. It told a story from the book, and used, a little bit of poetic license. We clapped and sang along. I snuck a few looks at the Louise’s face. We were like children again. We savoured every moment of the show and purchased a little souvenir at the end. We were exhilarated on the way home. We shared our favourite moments and planned the next day on the walk back to our lovely room. Next morning we had Breakfast in the hotel restaurant courtesy of our booked package. This was followed by a trip to Paddys Markets, China town, and a detour to Mrs Macquaries chair- don’t ask Gps thought it was the way home. We thank God for this weekend and its memories and times we shared, just being together and sharing conversation. It was special and we both want to do it again. So another tradition has begun; Mum & Louise weekends. They may not be as elaborate in the future, but it’s in the sharing that we will develop a more loving, trusting and open friendship as adult women.
Louise and Brid are 10 years apart.
They are so very different, but so very much alike as well. They have similar mannerisms. Louise was very similar to Brid in looks at this age.
Louise was 10 when Brid was born, and she can remember when I was in labour with Brid. She wanted to be present when Brid was born. She was like a little Mummy to her. Somethings never change.
Louise would settle Brid at night, if we didn't hear her. If Brid woke at night sick, she would be there with her, and come and get me when she OK to be left. (the kids rooms were a long way from ours).
Louise takes her role as big sister seriously. She makes sure when she buys gifts for Brid they are significant.
A couple of years ago, Louise paid for Brid to have her ears pierced- with my permission.
Louise chose a gorgeous perfume for Brids' 13th birthday.
As Louise doesn't live here, she likes to have Brid over to stay from time to time, to have girlie time. Thats always special for them both.
They bicker at times and Louise, being the eldest will stamp her authority. This doesn't go down to well with Brid. But as a good sister does she lets it all go and takes it in her stride. At least until, she can chat to me about it.
Sisterly love, its a precious gift, and one I hope they both continue to nuture as there relationship grows.
To all those Beautiful Blogging Mums out there. May God Bless You abundantly today.
We had a lovely Day. Dermot & Brid spoiled me with Breakfast in bed, and singing Happy Mothers day as I was presented little gifts.
I send off as many texts as I could to friends in my address book, to all the Mummys I know.
Dermot took charge of Sunday lunch. He needed very little help from me.
Brid set the table beautifully.
Each place had a placecard. Brid loves placing everyone.
Mum Dad and Louise arrived ready to be served and to serve Mum and myself.
So a Roast Chicken feast was in stall for us, with Chocolate cake for dessert.
Coffee and Tea afterwards.
It was lovely to be spoilt today.
Thank you God for the loving caring beautiful family, you have given me.
This month is my favourite month of the liturgical year. I remember being told, this month we honour Mary, the mother of Jesus. I wanted to know more.
I was a pretty green Catholic at the time.
I learnt that the liturgical colour was blue.
We started saying the Rosary daily in May in honour of Our Lady.
My Mum bought me a statue of The Miraculous Mary.
So much as changed since then. BUT I still love this month and Still honour Our Lady.
Late last year we added significant words to our liturgical celebrations. So this Month we have Mary- painted blue. Grace will follow soon. Our family and homeschool alters are covered and draped in blue material.
This weekend in Australia, we as a nation celebrate Mothers' day. We will get together with our family. Dermot and Brid will be cooking. Brid will get my Dad involved.
I will sit and chat with my Mum while the men and children serve us.
This was not quite the way it was done when I was younger, but when Dermot & I married, we started new traditions. One of these is that one birthdays and special days that person is served all day.
When I was younger we would give Mum her presents and we would have Bacon N Eggs- which Mum would cook. Then she would relax while we cleaned up. We would drive to see both my Dads Mum and my Mums' Mum. It was always a lovely day. We would buy Carnations on Friday for both my Nannas. It was a simple day and one we are getting back to.
So I look forward to Sunday and the time I will spend with my Mum and our family.
May God Bless you this weekend.
It’s been a long and sometimes hard road. I wanted so much for my Mum to want to confide in me and love me as I wanted her too, but it seemed to me that it would never happened.
I began resenting her and her relationships with my children. They would talk, move or cry and what I was saying was completely irrelevant. They were the centre of her life. Mum appeared to me, to want their relationship over mine. That stuck in my throat like a sharp object. I was bitter and unable to confide or have a relationship with her.
I kept telling myself it was Ok. But deep down it was festering. I yearned for that friendship I saw other Mums have with their daughters.
My Nanna introduced me to Our Lady very early in my life. I confided in Our Lady in these hard years. I took her as my Mum. I would confide in her talk to her and cry with her over this situation and other parts of my life. I loved chatting and smiling, crying and being raw with my heavenly Mum. It was so easy.
Then one day, God intervened. A serious situation occurred with one of our children and I needed to have my parents involved completely. They needed to know the real situation, not a fabrication made up by a wayward teen. I had an internal struggle-will I call or will I not, but within 2 minutes I had make the phone call. Both my parents arrived within the hour, concerned, but were also concerned for me. Our relationship began to heal.
It wasn’t easy but I made myself vulnerable to her for the first time in a long time. It took her a lot longer.
Mum finally started sharing with me, her secrets and little things I didn’t know about her, my Dad, my Grandparents and various situations.
It has been a major breakthrough and now we chat easily and our children see this and I hope with God’s grace I keep my relationships strong with our girls.
I wondered how my relationship with my Mum started declining, but that is looking back, and I feel called to move forward.Through this healing I am able to be the person I was hiding from her.
Today I feel very Blessed to be Catholic and to be witness to The Beatification Of Pope John Paul II.
I have looked back over Dermots and My life together. JPII was Pope when we were Married. He is on our Papal Blessing. He was the Pope when all our children were Baptised and He has been a big part of our Life. He was and is a great evangeliser. He created this Merciful Feast day. The many moves he made in world peace, reconciliation,, and the encyclicals he wrote. So much vision.
It has been amazing watching his Beatification tonight-AEST, and to be part of todays Divine Mercy feast day on this particular day was touching.
I remember the crowd at WYD08, when Our Holy Father -Pope Benedict XVI mentioned JPII name. It was electric. He wanted youth to be able to celebrate there Faith, so WYDs were born.
I am looking forward to Brids Journey to the next WYD.
So the day we have all been waiting for has arrived. As said in the commentary of EWTNs coverage. It was like an extension of JPIIs funeral. The crowds roared and clapped. It sent tingles up and down my arms, knowing all the little connections-. knowing he was so ill, waiting with the world in his final hours watching and crying at his Funeral Mass on TV, and waiting for the news that he was on his way to Sainthood. We all knew anyway. 6 years already. He had something special about him- Gods love to share with every and the Holy Spirit.
I am a Catholic Homeschool Mum. The love of my life is Dermot. We have been married for 24 years. We have 4 gorgeous children. Louise, Kristie, Kieran & Brid. We began our Homeschool journey in 2005. We enjoy life and give thanks to God for all he brings us. Enjoy reading and interacting with us