Posted in Large Family Life

Homeschooling Mantra

As usual, today began as another “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” day in our household 🙂 How I wish it would’ve began as a “If You Made Your Mom Some Muffins” day instead 🙂

Nevertheless, in the midst of juggling six kids single-handedly while hubby is out-of-town on business this WHOLE week, I somehow managed to submit a formal “homeschooling testimony”to the homeschooling program we use. They were looking for some feedback and personal commentary to use in upcoming promotional materials and publications.

Here’s my humble blip…

Homeschooling is what we do. I knew from the time of my Confirmation (nearly twenty years ago) that I wanted to have a large Catholic family and home-educate my children. I chose my middle name to be Elizabeth, after St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, at this time and incorporated it legally into my name after my husband and I were married. For me, there was never any other choice in homeschooling except for Seton Home Study. For our family, simply stated, it is “the way, the TRUTH, and the life” (John 14:6). Our family is best able to “come unto the Father” (John 14:6), strive for holiness, and help each other get to Heaven through homeschooling.

It is a wonderful way to maintain close relationships with your children and to know them personally and intimately, just as our Heavenly Father knows us. We teach our children the truth when we chose to be their primary educators in life, not only in reading, writing, and arithmetic but, more importantly, in their Catholic-faith formation. Finally, “learning” about our Catholic faith becomes infiltrated into our way of “living,” and the two become inseparable–permeating every aspect of our family life. “Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues.” (CCC 2223)

Homeschooling is both a personal conviction and a family lifestyle choice. There is truly no greater calling in life than properly raising the children God has entrusted to our care. “Now to Him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Thank you, and God bless you!

The Minnesota Madrids

Posted in Large Family Life

Happy 1st Birthday, Mikey-Man!

I sit here tonight on the eve of yet another birthday in a large, Catholic family. Yet, somehow this year it’s VERY different for me.

At this very same time last year, I remember wondering who this sweet little guy in my womb would look like. I wondered how he would change our already CRAZY family dynamics. I wondered how I could possibly handle one more child… how I could sleep any less, eat any less, burn-the-candle-at- both-ends any more, fit “one more thing on my plate?”

However, then I remembered the promises I hold on to each and every day. I remembered to trust in the Lord at all times and to lean not on my own understanding. Because by my own calculations… having.another.baby.RIGHT.NOW.just.wouldn’t.have.made.a.whole.lot.of.sense.

I was up to my eyeballs in life. We had just made our 6th move into our 3rd house. Yes–moves and pregnancies seem to go hand-in-hand for our family. For me, this now equated to painting my 3rd house while preggo. We had just moved back to Minnesota the previous fall. We had endured two moves, two houses, and two babies in less than two years. We didn’t have two pennies to rub together after all that. Yet, somehow, by the grace of God, we had a place to call our own, and I was determined to make it just that.

So, I unpacked all of our things (they had been in storage for a year while we lived in temporary housing). I sewed curtains. I painted walls. I accumulated used furniture off of Craigslist. I pulled things out of boxes I didn’t even know I owned anymore. I had two kids in school and three at home, and I was already busier than I knew any one person could possibly be.

Just when I felt like we were all “settled” (for as settled as a family of 7 can really ever be)… and I felt like I could “breathe” for the 1st time in the last year-and-a-half since the last move… it was then that the storm came.

An overdrawn checking account after purchasing “Craigslist Christmas gifts” for ALL 5 of our children on a $200 withdrawal that went unrecorded.

A 12-passenger van that sat empty on our driveway for 48 hours because there was no money to fill it up with gas.

A husband who made his 1.5 hour commute on a wing and a prayer… and enough fumes to thankfully make it the end of that workweek.

And the arrival of a completely BOGUS and frivolous lawsuit against our family. Evidently, it is the going “thing-to-do” to an honest, Catholic family of 7 when you just don’t happen to “like” the house they sold you after you had it inspected and signed on the dotted line. Pretty crummy stuff and a grave misuse of our legal system.

So… we’re talking ALL of this and then even some medical issues that arose for both my husband and I during this time as well.

However, sometimes when the Lord lets you hit rock-bottom, you ever-so-quickly realize that HE is the rock at the bottom, and you cling to that truth like you have never clung to anything before.

Those last three months of my pregnancy with Micheal were some of the most sacred and grace-abundant times in my life–to date. My children looked different to me. Groceries in the refrigerator seemed to have a glow all their own. A friend at the door with dinner became the hands and feet of Christ in our midst. I realized that no matter how hard one.human.being tried to take away EVERYTHING from our family, in the end, no matter how things ended up, we would still have what mattered most… our marriage, our children, our FAITH.

You see, this little guy, Michael Augustine, symbolizes this time in my life. Not a time of despair, but a time of faith. Not a time of poverty, but a time of hope. Not a time of self-pity, but a time of charity and openness-to-life. For when we are weak, then we are strong. Only in God can our souls find peace and true rest. If we have faith, then we truly want for nothing.

So, this little guy entered the world on Sunday, February 19th, 2012 at 12:01 PM measuring 19.5″ and weighing 8# on-the-dot.

We chose his first name to be Michael–after St. Michael the Archangel–as a reminder to never let evil prevail in our lives.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Power of God, cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

His middle name was chosen to be Augustine, after St. Augustine of Hippo.

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in my, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy. Amen.

His Baptismal (3rd) name was chosen to be Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

Michael Augustine Francis Madrid–we love you! Happy 1st birthday, Mikey-Man!

Mikey 1st Birthday