Nesting for the Soul

In preparation for the new addition to our family, I decided one of the best things I could do was undergo the Sacrament of Reconciliation. “Nesting for the soul” as I call it. While it is difficult to find time to attend reconciliation with a toddler, I knew it was a top priority during pregnancy. The first time this month I attempted to attend confession the Holy Spirit had a different plan. Leaving my toddler with my in-laws, I drove to Holy Rosary Church for their daily confession time. I pulled up to a full parking lot and, to my surprise, my parish priest was standing outside greeting those who entered. As it turns out, my coworker’s father’s funeral was being held during that time instead. Over the years I had gotten to know many of my coworker’s family members through teaching her children and nieces. The Holy Spirit brings you to the right place at the right time.

The following week, I attended lunchtime confession at Holy Rosary Church. I had compiled a list after discernment, so as not to forget any sins I wanted to confess. It was difficult to admit my faults to God, but the love I felt after was amazing. With each prayer of penance, I felt lighter and more at peace. This is a wonderful way to prepare for bringing a new life into the world. I recommend making the effort during your own journey of pregnancy.

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The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Since the beginning of my first pregnancy, I started attending prenatal yoga classes at YogaShala on N Williams. This studio employs thoughtful, caring instructors who take the time before each class to listen and fine tune instruction to your individual needs. YogaShala also has a wellness studio attached for acupuncture and massage appointments before or after baby’s arrival.

Through dedicated practice, the benefits of prenatal yoga are astronomical. I recommend all mothers-to-be attend prenatal yoga classes, especially if they are hoping to have a natural childbirth. The classes were incredibly beneficial, and I always felt accepted. They focused on mother and baby health, not on religion, and I never felt any conflicting spiritual aspect with my faith. In fact, through practicing yoga, I am able to focus on my relationship with God through upholding “the body is a temple” belief that the body should be nurtured and cared for throughout pregnancy for optimal mother and baby health.

Prenatal yoga prepares and strengthens your mind and body for the journey ahead. Additionally, it provides comradery with other pregnant women that helps ease the transition into motherhood. This class prepared me for what to expect. Even if your internal monologue sounds something like this, “I can’t believe that is what 40 weeks looks like! I don’t think my belly will ever get THAT big. How does she manage?” and then you are there at 40 weeks with your belly“THAT big” spending most of the class in child’s pose.

Isn’t it interesting that the number 40 has such a significant occurrence in the Bible?  For 40 years the Israelite’s wandered in the desert, for 40 days Jesus struggled with the devil, and for 40 weeks mothers bear the trials and tribulations of pregnancy. Each of these 40 trial periods are a test that ultimately bring great joy and fulfillment, although the path is difficult. May God provide comfort for us at the end of the journey of preparation and lead us into the light of his glory.

 

Pregnancy: Participating in a Miracle

Pregnancy involves participating in a miracle with God. I try to keep this in mind every time I get frustrated, tired, or discouraged with the pregnancy process. While I am afraid of reliving the pain I had during my natural childbirth with my first son, I must trust God that everything will be okay. So many times during pregnancy I have needed to place my trust in God. Trust that the baby will develop properly, trust that I won’t go insane with the constant bodily changes, trust that I will have enough energy to work, cook, clean house, and run after my toddler….I try to remember that the pain that lies ahead is nothing compared to the joy this new child will bring. What a precious gift to carry a new soul that with God’s grace will one day enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Furthermore if Mother Mary was able to labor and give birth in a stable, shouldn’t I be able to deliver this baby without complications in a modern hospital? Imagine trying to recover from childbirth and learning to breastfeed while entertaining three kings and riding a donkey! Mary understands the difficulties that mothers go through during this pivotal transition period. Invoke her intervention and pray often.

When I am afraid, in you I place my trust. (Psalms 56:4)

The Three P’s: Prioritize, Purge, and Preserve

This summer I have been busy cleaning and nesting for our new arrival. I don’t like to clean, but I love to organize. When I was young, I used to have organization parties with my friends. If HGTV existed during that time, I would have started my own organization company. As a child and grandchild of pack rats, I am terribly afraid of developing this disease. Thus, a friend introduced me to Preserving Sanity’s system of the three P’s: prioritize, purge, and preserve. This method works wonderfully to keep my home from overflooding with unnecessary objects. The steps below briefly outlines my application of the system.

Step One: Prioritize

After narrowing in on a section to organize, assess the inhabitants. What do you need? Have you used it or thought about it in the last few months? Does it serve a useful purpose? I like to think about if the object brings me joy, but also if it is something I would buy NOW. Some things used to be okay, but perhaps have now lost their luster. This prioritization process leads to the second P of purge.

Step Two: Purge

Place all items not needed in a bag to donate, sell, or give away. I get a thrill itemizing items using the app ItsDeductible and seeing my tax rebate increase. One of the great things about his app is that it easily links with your TurboTax account saving a lot of time inputting items later on during tax season.  Additionally, I have a bag in my home set aside specifically for items to donate. Once it is full, the items inside are itemized and donated. Another useful hint is to recycle any unneeded papers. It’s amazing how many papers one accumulates over time and how little is actually needed.

Step Three: Preserve

Now that the area is clear of non-essential items, place the essential items back into the space using organization systems or re-purposing containers you already have. File papers in a file cabinet and organize magazines in a magazine rack. Move items to other rooms that better fit their use and group like items together so they are easier to find.

That’s it! Now you have a cleaner, more organized living space that allows you to more fully focus on what truly matters in life. 

Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. (Colossians 3:2)

OMSI

16110893_1269672823082560_5872062369215021056_n1“The Bible speaks again and again of the goodness and beauty of creation, which is called to glorify God.” – Pope John Paul II, 1990 World Day of Peace Message, no. 14

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of my favorite places to visit. The museum has multiple rooms which entertain and delight visitors. With so many activities to enjoy at OMSI, my son J is content to stay all morning. We are fortunate to have a President Membership which allows us free access for our family and guests, free OMNIMAX and Planetarium tickets, and free passes for 21-and-over date nights to OMSI After Dark events. J and I visit for play dates on a weekly basis. He enjoys the air pressured ballroom, flying paper airplanes, throwing balls into the black hole pit, digging in the Watershed Lab, admiring the animals in the Life Science Lab, and the continuously rotating special exhibits.The children’s room is an enclosed area that contains bolting toddlers within a limited space. However, there is plenty to entertain and delight them: a sand pit, water play area, creative art table, simulation grocery store, and more. There is even a small infant area for pre-walkers to explore complete with musical instruments, a tropical fish tank, and ball pit. In addition to enjoying these benefits, OMSI has a reciprocal relationship with other ASTC museums through their Travel Passport Program which allows for free entry to any of their museums within the 50 states. I highly recommend any parent with young children to purchase an OMSI membership and reap these, and many other, benefits. Teaching your child a love for science is a tremendous gift. Through seeing the beauty in creation, we share in God’s love and recognize that God is in us and in nature.