Thursday, August 30, 2012

Today I am Thankful For . . .

My Mom Friends -- I didn't have any close girlfriends growing up, and only a few in college.  Many of my friends in college were guys, a relationship that naturally changes a lot when you get married.  So I didn't have much experience of close female friendship until I met my mommy friends.  For me, motherhood has created a bond with other women that I never thought I would experience.  How would I have gotten through the past six years without them?  And I feel like that connection will always be there to those friends from my earliest mommy days, even through geographical moves and life changes.

A Good Novel to Read -- I often watch a little TV on Netflix at night, but in reality it's both more satisfying and more relaxing to get lost in an absorbing book instead.  Currently I'm about 2/3 through The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I highly recommend it!

A Great Deal -- This may seem weird or silly to some people, but I feel like God often blesses me through great deals.  Yesterday, a lady from a local classifieds group sold me some new-in-package birthday presents for my son for much less than she could have asked for them.  I feel so blessed by her lack of greed and am so excited to be able to get these items for my baby.  I can't wait to see his face when he opens them!

Thank You.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On Suffering and Endurance

My family has been going through some trials lately, specifically financial ones.

It has been a time of hardship and stress, but also a time of some broadening and growth spiritually and in relationships.  Specifically, I have been greatly inspired by Ann Voskamp's beautiful book One Thousand Gifts - a book that is primarily about thanksgiving.  As someone who loves to plan, organize, and be in control, I have been slowly learning to truly live in and for the moment and to give thanks for the moment.

Something I picked up from the book was really a huge revelation to me.  I always tended to think of God's will as kind of a future thing, something you search out and achieve.  I would think that trials happen for a reason, but some future reason, to accomplish God's future will.  Instead, I have come to see that perhaps God's will is now, this moment -- that the trials we are going through are what God's will is for us right now, no matter what the future is.  That small insight has brought me great peace and it is what has gotten me through the days and days of not knowing what the future holds.

I would love to say that I am continuing to grow spiritually.  I would also love to say that our trials are indeed  leading up to a happy end.  Unfortunately, right now I am not sure that I can say either.

That's just the thing.  For many days I have been repeating to myself, "Eucharisteo (thanksgiving) precedes the miracle," a quotation from the book.  It is an observation that before he performed miracles Jesus always gave thanks.  I have been trying to give thanks in it all, but now I find myself ready for the miracle!

And what if the miracle doesn't come when I want it?  I am finding that it some ways it is easy to be faithful in the early stages of a crisis,when the adrenaline kicks in and you spring into action.  I'm always good if I have a plan.  But continuing on and on with the thanksgiving, when the hardships don't abate and your life is not looking the way you want it to look.  That must be the true sanctity.

I'm not there yet.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why I Don't Have a Smartphone

Recently, my brother, who is also the owner of a dowdy "dumb" cellphone like myself, shared that he had read an article which accused us non-smartphone users of being pretentious and self-consciously chic.  We had a good laugh about that, as we both know that a truer characterization is self-consciously "cheap"!

I do not own a Smartphone, and I honestly do not desire or plan to get one any time soon.  Upon reflection, I realized that there are three main reasons for this.

First, yes, I am cheap.  Or perhaps more accurately, I am on a very limited budget and am careful about how I spend every dollar.  Smartphones may seem a necessity to many people, but it cannot be denied that they can be expensive to own and use.

Secondly, and this point is related to the first, it does not seem to me that whatever value the useful apps might have, they would be worth the cost to me personally.  I have read and heard about all the great apps available, and there are new ones all the time.  Sometimes I wish I could try some of these tools that can organize and manage everything from your receipts to your prayers.  However, one thing I have learned as an adult and a mom is that no tool can substitute for my own self-discipline.  I have purchased great planners and organizers before, but they only work if I work.  I laughed a little bit to myself one day at the gym when I heard a lady describe a sit-ups app with such excitement that it literally sounded like the app did the sit-ups for her!  When they create an app like that, I'll get the smartphone!

My last reason is truly the most important, and it has nothing to do with money.  I think we have all been in the situation where we felt ignored or snubbed because a friend, family member, or acquaintance was checking their phone instead of paying attention to us.  It seems that our culture as a whole is devaluing personal face-to-face connection, and I think that is sad.  And the thing is, I don't criticize this behavior because I think I'm better than these people.  Actually, I know myself, and I think I could be just as bad.  I already am sometimes guilty of spending too much time on my netbook computer at home or checking my email or facebook too many times a day.  I certainly don't need the temptation to do this when I am out at my kids activities, shopping, or visiting friends.  I realize that there are people who perhaps need to be connected to their jobs, but I think my emails from the PTO, my moms' group, and my daughter's AHG troop can probably wait until I get home.

As it is, I have been considering my own technology use lately and how it is contributing (or not) to the kind of intentional life that I want.  I have been reading things like Hands Free Mama and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are , and I am still mulling over these authors' insights about living distraction free in the moment.  But one thing I do know is that I don't want to spend my life constantly connected to technology.

Of course, I'm not saying that other people should not have Smartphones; this is my personal decision.   I'm also not going to back myself into a corner here, so that I get "ah-ha" emails in a few years when I might indeed have one.  I'm not going to say I will never get one.  I realize that they may become so much a part of life that they might be hard to avoid, just as the internet and cellphones have in the past years.  But I'm not in a hurry, and I would not do it without extremely grave consideration.

For now, my phone will stay "dumb."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Circus McGuirkus


I am Elizabeth McGuirk, aka Liz to a lot of people, and this is my personal blog.  I have been blogging already for 3-1/2 years at Frugally Blonde, a frugal blog which I recently decided to bring to a close.  I also still blog at Catholic Deals, which is just like it sounds - a blog featuring great deals for Catholics (and many of interest to other Christians as well).

I am a wife and stay-at-home mom in my late twenties.  I am married to M, who works in IT and we are blessed with three children. Our kiddos are "GiGi," a rising first grader who is sometimes almost-six-going-on-thirty and is sometimes just plain five and three quarters; "LuLu," my crazy, exuberant almost four year old; and "Gem," my sweet "baby" boy who is almost two.  These are not my children's real names, and I don't publish their real names or their complete pictures on my blogs.

Here are our "Circus McGuirkus" I will be posting about my faith, family, cooking, my attempts and frugal and simple living, or anything else that jumps to mind.

Thanks for stopping by!