Thank you, Kim, for being the first in my 'I'm Catholic' series! I want to profile fellow Catholics, their faith journeys and what makes them different and interesting. I'm breaking my first rule today. I was planning on profiling non-bloggers (because we already know how cool Leila, Simcha and Ginny are), but Kim blogs- very occasionally- at Byzymom. I decided to break my rule because she is a rare one- a possible future priest's wife. If you are or know someone who would like to be profiled, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How long have you been a practicing Catholic?
I converted to the Catholic faith 5 years ago.
Care to share your conversion, reversion story?
Although I was baptized Anglican, I grew up in an agnostic home. I attended a Presbyterian youth group throughout high school but mostly just wandered around lost and confused. With no knowledge about vocation or God’s plan for my life, it was hard for me to find direction and purpose and I spent my university years trying to find fulfillment in the things of the world. I read books about many faiths but nothing could answer my questions. When I started dating my now husband I told him I didn’t believe in organized religion and he called my bluff. After a BIG fight I agreed to start reading about the history of the Christian faith. After I was sure that Catholicism was the truth I had been missing it was just a matter of East vs West. I like the incense, candles and mysticism that is more present in the East than in the West. It also helped that my boyfriend was Eastern Catholic. I entered the Church on May 13th 2007, about one month before my boyfriend proposed to me. Although my husband is a cradle Catholic, he fell away from the church in his early twenties and we met at the perfect time for his reversion and my conversion. We have been blessed to grow in our faith together. I do find that he has grown in leaps and bounds and I sort of putter along. The grass is always greener where you water it and he is much more disciplined than I am in his daily prayers.
How does your faith inform your day-to-day life?
I know it sounds cliché but my life is my faith. Meal planning depends on the fast or feast and I am trying to raise my children with the knowledge of the liturgical calendar and seasons. I don’t know how I would survive three children under three without the intercession of the Theotokos and the Saints! I currently can’t find the controller for the TV and I am really hoping that St. Anthony will intercede for me because without it I have no emergency “quiet time” for the kids.
Like Catherine Doherty (and others) have said “do little things exceedingly well for love of Me”. When I do the dishes, laundry, diapers, shopping, cleaning I try to do it all for love of Christ. Ideally, I pray a little in the morning if I can manage to wake up before the toddlers, a little in the afternoon while the baby sleeps and the toddlers are playing and a little at night with my husband. We read the Prologue of Ochrid (lives of the saints) together as well as some scripture. I am hoping to go to adoration hour once a week on Friday mornings (with the Roman Catholics). Hopefully this will become a routine in the very near future.
In reality; I almost always sleep as long as possible, the baby doesn’t go down for a nap and I fall asleep before my husband gets home from his singing lessons. Pray for us.
What is your greatest challenge in practicing your faith?
As a control freak (with really messed up hormones) there are some teachings of the church (ahem..NFP) that I struggle with. It’s hard to give up control and to trust “Let go and Let God”. It’s much easier said than done. My husband and I both come from small families that only had two children and then stopped permanently. We are already the black sheep with our three. That being said I think my greatest challenge in practicing my faith is my own sinfulness, honest! I could complain about how my family thinks I’m crazy, my childhood friends have stopped talking to me, my kids never sleep and my husband won’t stop singing weird Bulgarian tones. But the truth is, I would rather sleep an extra hour than get up for Matins, I want my kids to behave in church so I won’t look bad and I have a sugar addiction that makes Lent really hard. The key is to remember God’s love and forgiveness and that each day, each hour can be a fresh start.
favorite Bible verse?
Currently...Luke 10:41-42 “Martha, Martha. You worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part.”
favorite Spiritual writing (besides Bible) quotation?
I am big fan of the writings of Catherine Doherty. Living The Gospel Without Compromise is a great book and I’ve read it 3 times...and I should read it again. Her lay apostolate was instrumental in my conversion and I have spent time at Madonna House in Combermere. I could go on for days about how the light of Christ really shines through these people and their writings!
favorite saint and why?
Martha. She is not on the calendar in the Eastern Church but this is where I “breath with both lungs”. I have a hard time staying in the moment and not fussing in the kitchen when I could be present to Christ in my life. Martha reminds me that every person that walks in my door is made in the image and likeness of God and that my daily prayers are more important than making a complicated dinner.
Do have have a living spiritual mentor?
Because my husband is currently a seminarian I have access to a lot of holy people! The local parish is thriving with holy mothers and the rector is always bringing in amazing priests to speak with the seminarians about their vocations. There are two people in particular that come to mind. One is a little schema monk that travels around the country. He has been a spiritual father to our family for about four years and helped in our discernment of this vocation. He baptized all of our children. The other is an elderly lady whose son is the rector of the seminary. She just radiates with love for Christ and His Church. Of course there are also the priest wives in the area that have taken me under their wings and are always there to listen. I have truly been richly blessed!
What is your ministry in the church?
My ministry is to raise saints and get my husband into Heaven..haha. Because my husband will (God willing) be a priest one day I will be a priest’s wife. I am just beginning to learn the ins and outs of this ministry. Pray for me.
Education and job
Before I had my children I used to work in group homes and in an HIV hospice. I also worked as a special needs teachers assistant in the schools. My children are very close together and I had to give up my positions when my middle child was born. I haven’t had an opportunity, desire or need to return to work yet. Now that we have moved across the country for my husbands formation I will probably return to some kind of work part time after I wean the baby sometime in the New Year.
favorite movie, book, music
Ushpizin...such a great movie!
Book?..does a cook book count?...I like to read cook books. Rebar has NEVER done me wrong during Lent and Nourishing Traditions is a classic with lots of reading material inside! Both are available on amazon and probably your public library (although I was 83rd on the hold list for Nourishing Traditions until my MIL bought one for me..bless her!)
There was a VERY short time in our marriage B.C. (before children) that my husband played the upright bass in a blues band and we would travel around to smoky old bars in the middle of the prairies and it was lots of fun. I like Blues/Country music (with a side of pop when the kids aren’t in the car).
I am a bit of an urban homesteader (in as much as I can living in a small apartment with no yard). I like to bake and make yogurt and water kefir. One day I want a garden, a worm compost and a chicken.
I aspire to be able to crochet or knit but who am I kidding, it all becomes one big mess of yarn. So, instead, I get books from the library and look at the pictures.
When I have a free moment I study iconography. I take workshops when they come up and have worked under a couple different masters. I have done 12 icons and my master tells me you need to have done 100 before you can be an iconographer so I have awhile to go.
What is 'cool'/interesting about you?
I found this question the hardest. I’m not sure what to say that I haven’t already mentioned.
Three months ago I moved my family across the country so that my husband could attend the Eastern Catholic Seminary for three years. That’s kind of interesting. I have three young children and I want more one day. I also want to be a foster mom when we finish our formation and are settled back at home.
If you had $20 and an hour of free time what would you do?
...browse the organic food store for a good bar of chocolate and then get a manicure, a cup of tea and a newspaper.
Thanks, Kim, for sharing! We will praying for you throughout your family's journey!