Love Begins at Home: Some Updates

Dear friend, 

For this first year or so of blogging I have been rather inconsistent when it comes to adding new posts. I recently took some time to dive deeper within my thoughts and heart to discover why I have been so inconsistent. I still feel that God is pulling me out of my comfort zone through blogging and that He desires me to continue writing. So I had to ask myself why I am resisting this.

I realized there were a few reasons and maybe you can relate!

Protecting the privacy of my children when it comes to sharing pictures and stories

The first thing that I really struggle with is sharing pictures and stories of my children on social media. When I started my blog many of my friends encouraged me to post lots of pictures of my family. I had such a hard time with this. I have always wanted to respect the privacy of my children. Yet I have never really minded when my family posts pictures of me online. There had to be a deeper meaning as to why I felt this way. I realized that I desire my children to be the ones to share special moments of their lives with others. I want my children to be able to have an intimacy that remains theirs to share (or not to share). I myself desire this intimacy with others. There is such a demand in our world today to keep up on social media, but every moment of our lives does not need to belong to others. We are allowed to share special moments with certain people and should not feel obligated to show the whole world. I believe this actually fosters intimacy within a relationship. It is actually special for me to have moments with those I am close with that are not meant for the eyes or hearts of others. This would probably explain why my most deep and meaningful friendships don’t include a ton of pictures of us together. 

Maybe there is something to this, some innate desire for intimacy placed within our hearts by God Himself.

When Jesus is transfigured He only brings Peter, James, and John along with Him. He doesn’t bring all twelve apostles, just three of them. Jesus knew that this moment would only be for the three until a later time. Peter even says to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here” (Matthew 17:4). After witnessing this incredible moment with our Lord He commands these three disciples, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead” (Matthew 17:9). There are many other times in which Jesus, after an amazing occurrence, tells the witness(es) not to tell anyone. Jesus desires to have an intimacy with each of us. I am sure you can recall many saints who had amazing occurrences with the Lord during their lives, but told others not to say a word about it. These saints desire these intimate moments with our Lord to remain hidden in their hearts, not for anyone else to know. It is usually only after the saint passes that these stories reach the minds and hearts of others. 

At the end of John’s gospel John says, “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). Inspired by the Holy Spirit John only wrote certain moments in the life of Jesus, but not everything. God taught him exactly what he was to write and reveal to the rest of the world. I pray that I may have this type of discernment when it comes to sharing moments in my life. My prayer is that I may only share what will glorify God if and when He desires it. I turn to Mary as my example. 

I am sure you know already that much of Jesus’s home life remains hidden. In Luke’s Gospel Luke shares some of our Lord’s hidden life. Where did Luke learn this information though? He certainly wasn’t there when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, when Jesus was born, or when Simeon prophesied in the Temple when he saw our Lord and His mother. In fact our Blessed Mother is the only possible witness to Jesus’s conception and birth. Could it be that Luke wrote about these things through the eyes of our Blessed Mother? There are multiple times where St. Luke writes about Mary keeping things and pondering them in her heart. Scott Hahn in his book Joy to the World notes, “Luke is a credible witness to Mary’s ‘pondering.’ … Commentators since ancient time have concluded that both ‘heart’ lines were simply the evangelist’s way of citing the Blessed Virgin as his firsthand source.” Our Blessed Mother shared some of our Lord’s hidden family life with Luke. Could you imagine listening to Mary’s stories of Jesus as she told them to you so tenderly as she did with Luke? May I seek Mary’s counsel as to when and if I should share certain stories of our family life.

All of this to say that I will be sharing certain stories that I feel prompted to share, but there will be many moments hidden for me to ponder in my own heart just as Mary did. Some stories may even be revealed at a much later time. May Mary teach me how to do so!

I also wanted to add that you may have noticed that I begin my blog posts with “My dear friends.” I have decided to change this a tiny bit since I want to try to maintain the intimacy with each person as much as possible on my blog. So I will now start off my blog posts with “Dear friend.” I want each post to be like a special letter of sorts to each reader, whether I know you personally or not.

Fear of what others will think

The second thing I struggled with was social media in general (including blogging). I have always had a difficult time sharing my life on social media for the reasons I have mentioned above. After getting social media in high school there were three years where I wasn’t on Instagram and at least two years I wasn’t on social media all together. I did not want to feel obligated to post or to let my curiosity discover things about others that I just don’t need to know. So when God put the idea of a blog on my heart I was shocked. To be honest with you I didn’t want to do it. I also had this fear of what others would think. 

Imagine if we didn’t have any writings from faithful Catholics (including the saints) due to the fear of what others would think! Imagine if St. Therese, St. Faustina, and St. John Paul II never wrote what our Lord inspired them to write! How tragic this would be! I have been greatly encouraged reading the lives of other faithful Catholics as well, whether they have been canonized or not. We all can learn a great deal from one another. Blogs have especially been a huge help for me as I navigate how to best love Christ in and through my family. My hope is that by sharing my stories as I journey through life you may find encouragement and I may be encouraged by you as well! 

My fear of what others would think continued to fade as I discovered people were actually reading my blog. I received a sweet message from one of my friends telling me that she teared up while reading my blog. How special! Then while I was in Old Navy shopping for clothes for my daughter a lady came up to me and asked if I was Nina. She continued to tell me that her daughter and I went to college together. Her daughter was my friend and told her mom about my blog. She recognized me from my pictures. Who would have thought that we would later run into each other in an Old Navy! I was greatly amazed and humbled at the same time. One other time after Mass this woman approached my family to introduce herself and her family. She said she found out about my blog because we both had the same doula. She recognized me after Mass and wanted to introduce herself. She is now one of my closest friends and I am very grateful for our friendship. All the glory to God for these occurrences!

My fear completely faded when I realized that whether no one, one person, or a lot of people read my blog, what if instead of worrying about what others think I ask God what He thinks? I did just that one morning in prayer. Almost immediately after I opened my planner to see the verse for the week was Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before others.” God really does speak to us if we let Him! 

“Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ” Galatians 1:10.

Photography

One inadequacy I felt in regards to blogging was my photo editing skills. It seems like all the bloggers have perfectly photographed and edited pictures. I, on the other hand, know very little about photo editing. I realized something though. My all time favorite blog includes unedited pictures on a website that hasn’t been updated in years. Her writings on the Catholic faith, motherhood, and being a wife have impacted me more than any other blog! Her social media is the same way. To me it seems more real and relatable. I again desire each blog post to be as close to an intimate letter as possible. If I were to send a letter with pictures to a friend I probably wouldn’t edit each photo to make sure they all look perfect. I would rather let the pictures remain as they are and let the love and joy within them speak for themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I know some very talented photographers who create amazing edited photographs that still look natural. I do think it is a form of art to create a beautiful picture that maintains the realness and emotions of those photographed. Maybe eventually I can learn a few tips from my photographer friends. For now though I am content with my amateur photography skills. 

Needless to say I am excited to be back! I now have more of an understanding of blogging and what direction I would like to go in. I would love to share some blog updates with you now! 

Some updates

Other than feeling called to write I had to ask myself the question, “Why did I start my blog?” Well, to be honest with you after getting married and having children there were many situations where I sought advice from other wives and mothers. As you can imagine it is a radical change to go from being single to married and having a baby all within one year. I honestly never really read blogs until one of my friends suggested that I read one blog in particular. I can hands down say that this one blog has changed my life. It is as if I am reading a fantastic book on marriage and motherhood in real time. I would often times find myself laughing or crying as I read her posts. I gain so much wisdom and truly grow as a wife and mother whenever I read her blog. I continued finding other blogs that I have also enjoyed reading. My spiritual director even said that reading an edifying blog can be a form of spiritual reading. How amazing! 

Before I really started reading blogs though I felt as if there wasn’t really a resource where a Catholic wife and mother could go seeking answers as to how she could fully embrace her vocation. That is why I wanted to start this blog. Granted I am definitely not perfect nor do I have a lot of experience as a wife and mother quite yet. I do, however, want to share my experiences along the way. I want to share what blogs, books, podcasts, and resources have really helped me in my marriage and motherhood. I want to share yummy and healthy recipes for a growing family, things that have been really useful for family life, and whatever I learn from others or learn myself on this journey. I especially want to share any prayers or practices that have helped me to grow as a Catholic. I want to gleam some wisdom I find with you and the things I have been reflecting on. I honestly just want to help other wives and mothers.

With all of this in mind I will be refining my posts to specifically be about marriage and family life. I probably won’t add as many pictures to my posts as again I want to maintain the intimacy. I will be expanding my blog posts to include recipes, resources, and prayers helpful to family life. I am very excited to fine tune my content a bit. 

I would love to hear from you about what has been helpful for you in family life, whether you are married or not, whether you have children or not. I would love to know what has helped you because everyone comes from some type of family whether that be our immediate family or extended family. Also, don’t forget we all are a family as adopted sons and daughters of God! 

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other” St. Mother Teresa

 With love, 

Nina 

+JMJ+

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One thought on “Love Begins at Home: Some Updates

  1. I always love getting your posts in my email, Nina!

    I would especially love to hear healthy, tasty recipes and activities that you do with your toddler.

    I hope all of you are feeling better!

    Mary Clare

    >

    Like

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