Saturday, March 1, 2014

The 2nd "P" in Our Rule of Life: Person

If you have no idea what I'm writing about, I decided to create our own Boucher Family Rule of Life as part of my lenten mission.  It's modeled after Holly Pierlot's A Mother's Rule of Life.  In previous posts on this topic, I have written about:

(Note: When I said I'd tackle 1 P each day for the next 5 days,  I should have said, "I'll tackle 1 P at my earliest convenience because we're putting our house on the market.")

Today, I'm looking at the 2nd "P" in a Rule of Life: Person.

The 2nd "P," Person, is an essential part of our Rule of Life.  Examining the Person isn't about naval gazing; it's a humbling moment to examine ourselves (good and bad) in order to make the necessary changes to become what God intends us to be.  In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve's reason and intellect were in complete communion with God's will for them.  This gave them complete independence because they were free of attachments to sin.  Have you ever heard the phrase, "sin makes you stupid"?  When I live in patterns of sin, I find myself in bondage to them.  When sins become habitual, it's easier to reason them away or blindly give in to temptation, and it becomes harder and harder to break free.  Examining my weaknesses and tendencies to sin with the intention to change is so liberating!  

Holly Pierlot quoted her university professor, Fr. Tom Daley, as saying that "freedom is taking responsibility for who you are to become."  If I want to live out our family's mission statement to be a domestic church where saints are made, I need to take responsibility for taking the necessary steps to become who God wants me to be.  In order to do that, I need to take a holistic approach to ensure that every area of my personhood is in balance.

So, I examined a few areas:

Psychological and Emotional Health
In her section on Person, Holly Pierlot suggests asking yourself a few questions to determine why you react the way you do.  

  • Why do I feel this way?
  • Why is this bothering me?
  • Where have I encountered this before in my life?
  • What does this make me think of?
These simple questions helped me to realize that I respond to the world around me because of the accumulation of past experiences.  Taking a moment to think about these questions, especially when I find my anger surfacing, is extremely helpful.  Usually, my anger is tied to a previous hurt unrelated to the moment at hand.  This exercise taught me that I need to work on processing my emotions more than simply relegating them to the back of my mind because it's easier to ignore them.

In addition to thinking about these questions, I am going to start journaling regularly.  I am going to start a weekly thorough examination of conscience.  This will help me to uncover habits of sin and hopefully help me to break those cycles.  Recognizing these chinks in my spiritual armor and asking God to strengthen me where I am weak is a good place to start.

I'd love to find a spiritual director after we move to help me further identify and work on overcoming habits of sin.  

This is me without enough sleep:

I earned the nickname "Kindergarten Catherine" when I attended all day kindergarten while still desperately needing a nap.   It was probably the longest year of my mother's life!  I'm 29, and my family still teases me about this!  I need my sleep.  For this mama, that means 7-8 hours of sleep to be fully functioning.  Philip and I have a new rule that we must be in bed by 9:30, and lights go out at 10.  This ensures that I'm rested enough to rise before the children at 5:30 for prayer and exercise.  

Aside from getting adequate rest at night, Holly Pierlot wrote about having a "Mother's Sabbath."  For her, a Mother's Sabbath is her regular time away for "rest, solitude, and restoration with God."  She takes one Saturday away every other week to go to Adoration, confession, run errands, read, etc.  She reasons that even Jesus took time away to pray and that we all need to get away in order to recharge.  In our family, a few hours on a Saturday once a month would be divine!  Since Philip is away from home all week, he doesn't have the same desire I do to get out of the house, and he wants to be a homebody most weekends.  Having this regular opportunity to get out by myself would do me some good.  I see myself going to confession, spending time in Adoration, running a few errands, reading at a coffee shop, and working on my blog.  I haven't had a Mother's Sabbath yet, but I doubt I'll have trouble making it up as I go!   

In addition to my Mother's Sabbath, I need time to rest with my gal pals without our kiddos.  Philip and I think that having some girl time (aside from my Bible study and parish mothers group) two times a month is a healthy amount.  (Likewise, he is supposed to schedule regular outings for himself with his buddies.)

I'm still using the Paprika app to organize my recipes and plan our weekly menu.  Having a plan in place reduces the amount that we're eating out and helps us to eat more nutritiously.  I build in healthy snacks throughout the week.  I need to work on prepping the snacks ahead of time (cut up fruits and vegetables) so that I can access them more easily than the less healthy options.  Simply having a list of nutritious snack ideas helps, too. 

I haven't been able to get my regular exercise in because we've had a constantly shifting schedule during the day with Baby Harry.  Now that he's 6 months and has a relatively regular schedule with sleeping and eating, I'm finally ready to say that I have time to exercise at a regular time.  I've decided it makes the most sense for me to exercise after my morning prayers before I make breakfast for the kids.  If they wake up during this time, they can have quiet reading time until I'm done with my 30 Day Shred DVD.  They love acting like my personal trainers with cheerleading or even joining in next to me, so maybe this will turn into a family activity!  

I am so grateful to my Catholic OBGYN and nurse practitioner for helping to treat my hormone irregularities.  Through using the Creighton Model and doing a simple blood draw, we were able to identify a progesterone deficiency.  Supplementing my progesterone levels helped me to maintain a healthy pregnancy when I was pregnant with Harry.  Assuming my progesterone levels remain low in the future, I will be able to get supplements earlier to greatly limit my risk of miscarriage.  During the post-partum phase, my nurse practitioner was able to identify post-partum depression and successfully treat me with progesterone therapy.  As my body gets back into the swing of things with a cycle, I am going to be on the lookout for PMS as progesterone therapy can limit those symptoms as well.  I think Philip would appreciate that, too!

Hygiene and Grooming
With exercising in the morning, I'm still trying to figure out the best time to shower.  When do you exercise and shower?  I don't think I'll ever be a shower in the evening kinda gal.  I never feel clean that way.  I think I need to move my wake-up call to 5:00 in order to get it all done without interruption.  We'll see how my first week goes.  Right now, I'm thinking things will look like this:

  • 5:30 Wake up and get dressed to exercise
  • 5:40-6:00 Eat breakfast and morning prayer (Daily Readings, Gospel reflection, Morning Offering)
  • 6:00 30 Day Shred DVD
  • 6:30 Shower (kids have quiet reading time if they're awake)
  • 7:00 Breakfast with kids

30 minutes during the kids' nap time 

A few questions for you on the 2nd "P" of Person:

  • How do you work on overcoming areas or habits of sin?  Do you journal?
  • What about rest?  What kind of sleep are you getting lately?  Do you have something resembling a Mother's Sabbath?  What would your time away look like?
  • How do you plan your weekly menu for your crew?  Do you have any tips or recipes you'd like to share?
  • All of us are busy, but how do you find time to exercise?  Do you have a program you love?  Do you have any advice for a mama with little ones?
  • Is there something you're eating or a nutrition supplement that's helping you to feel better?  Have you identified any areas of concern in your health?
  • When do you fit in your grooming needs?  I'd love any tips or advice in this area since it's tough to get ready AND exercise with the little ones!
  • Blogger friends, how do you organize and fit in time to blog?  Do you do something to help you organize your thoughts?  I feel like my method is to pre-write it all in my head the day before and "brain dump" whenever I get a free chunk of time!
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This is my 6th of 7 posts in Jen Fulwiler's "7 Days, 7 Posts" challenge.  Come on over, join in the fun link-up, and read some great blogs!

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