Pregnancy, Julie Andrews, and the Divine Mercy Chaplet

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Exhaustion. So tired the thought of walking from one room into the other to go and lay down is as painful as running a marathon. You look at the clock, and it’s only four thirty, and the thought of at least four more hours of being awake brings tears to your eyes. Hoping a little power nap will help you become less of a lovelorn phantom of the underworld, you follow your husband’s outstretched hand to your inviting bed and fall into the nest. Minutes tick by, and through your closed eyes, you have visions of chaos dance through your mind. Eyes now squeezed tightly, you try desperately to think of happier things. 

Aisle after aisle of baby things swim through your vision from your overwhelming trip to the store.

Paperwork and unmade decisions of importance threaten the comfort that your bed offers.

Eventually, fear, worry and anxiety shake up and mix into a cocktail of turmoil in your chest and you wildly clutch your husband’s hand hoping it will all just go away. But it doesn’t

I struggle with fear. Not just your average anxiety or Sunday blues… but extreme fear. More than anyone I’ve ever known. It’s bad enough that I sit nearly paralyzed with worry about my day. My mind will start to imagine all sorts of scenarios where I am alone with the fear, and that makes it worse.This has been me since I can remember. As a child, I would hear family members talking about me and saying that I was “too afraid” of things and when I was faced with simple challenges, I would wiggle out of them because I was just too scared to try them.

As you can imagine, pregnancy brought a whole new level of fear along with it. I fight everyday not to become my fear and to keep it under control for my son. I don’t want him to pick up that fear from me, but rather, I want him to be like a courageous lion, ready to explore, discover, and protect. I want to see him laugh and splash at the beach, and not be terrified of the jelly fish that might sting him. I want him to stand up high in the tree house and go down the the zipline with a shout of pure joy, and not stand pale-faced at the top looking down with images of himself bruised and battered in the pine needles below.

My mother also struggles with worry and fear. She would always stroke my hair and urge me to meditate on Philippians 4:6-9.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I would try to think hard about them, but I remember being confused by the “things” we were supposed to dwell on. Did it look a little bit like Julie Andrew’s “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music? That couldn’t be right… There had to be more to it. True things. Honorable things. Right Things. I was pretty sure those things were more than raindrops, kittens, and kettles (as much as I do love the song). But how did one go about dwelling on these things if the things weren’t understood?

The answer has not been clear to me even to this day, and it wasn’t until midway through my daily nap time tossing and turning next to Daniel when the words that led to understanding were out of my mouth before I knew what I was saying.

“I just want to listen to prayer.” My eyebrows were furrowed together and my heart was racing. But I knew if I could hear his sweet voice offering up intentions, petitions, and thanksgiving, I could be still. Mind, body, and soul. It wasn’t just the act of hearing the words that I needed. I needed to pray myself, yet I was weak. I was scared.

Daniel grabbed the rosary beside the bed and immediately began praying the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. His soothing voice was like a balm and the words were food for my soul as I focused on the prayers.

“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Whatever is true.

“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Whatever is honorable.

“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Whatever is right.

“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Whatever is pure.

“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Whatever is lovely.

“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

whatever is of good repute.

“Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

It finally connected with me.

“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Those “things” aren’t just physical things that you think about and they magically make you happy. They’re spiritual things. Prayer is one of those things, even when you’re too weak to actually form the words on your lips. Your soul craves it. As I listened and meditated on the prayers that Daniel prayed, my spirit was calmed, and the forces that raged against me were shut out. Peace came, as was promised.

Chapter in the Life (Ch. 11)

Good Catholic Literature

My Cup Runneth Over (and it maketh a mess) – Better Than Eden – This post was a really good post for me. I’ve been so overwhelmed lately and this was a great reminder that God is blessing me daily and that I can’t always see the big picture like He can!

The Good and Holy Friendship – Better Than Eden – Another great one from Mary. It was really interesting to read through the comments on this one too! Mary is so good at depicting what others are thinking in their heads but don’t know how to say!

Why Our Babies Aren’t Angels… And Why It Matters – Elizabeth Ministry Mary at Better Than Eden wrote this piece for Elizabeth Ministry and oh my goodness, like I said before, she has a real talent to be able to address in kindness what needs to be addressed. 

You Don’t Have to go to Grad School to have a Life of the Mind – Carrots for Michaelmas – If you know me, you know why I love this!

How to be Catholic: Tips you may not get in RCIA – A Knotted Life 

Family News

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Introducing Eliot Hayden Salisbury! We’re having a son!

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Look at his cute little foot! He’s really quite jumpy in the appointments and we have a hard time getting pictures of him since at all of his appointments he thinks it’s party time. I love our enthusiastic little baby dragon!

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Big ol’ baby bump! I am getting excited for dress weather to come because even the pants with the huge belly bands are becoming uncomfortable. I just don’t like the feeling of stuff touching my waist no matter how loose. Dresses are the most comfortable for sure! Unfortunately it has been just below freezing today and so while we had a nice couple of warm sundress days, we’re back into cold and wet depressing weather. Especially at 6 a.m. for those opening shifts…

Becoming a Better Reader

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This Christmas gift from a dear friend and mentor has been a wonderful read so far! It has been my lunch break companion and I am gobbling it up quite quickly! While I keep telling Daniel he should read it, I think he has little need to because I end up giving him a detailed summary of each chapter as I read it. He likes it too!

DIY 

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I’ve been working on this embroidery project for months. Quite like Noah’s blanket. I may be early to all of my appointments/jobs etc… but I am LATE whenever I’m making something! It’s okay. Anyway, this is one of one of mine and Daniel’s favorite songs and I think I’m going to turn it into a wall hanging. I hope it turns out!

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I also had fun doing some amateur watercolor for Eliot (to put above his crib) and then turning it into this nursery print on the computer! That’s a quote from Winnie the Pooh that I just love… I love Winnie the Pooh. I think they may be the movies that I watched the most as a kid. It’s actually from this print that I figured out that I wanted to casually do teal and gray decor for any baby things I can actually make! I made a little yarn covered “E” that I instagrammed to hang next to this print and I want to make a little banner too with those colors. It’ll be fun to have a little “Baby corner” in our room!

Thanks for reading today! I apologize for the lack of blog posts. I really do blame pregnancy brain. I think of something at work that I want to blog about when I get home and then I promptly forget on the drive home. I guess I should start carrying a notebook! It’s so true what they say… Pregnant women would forget their heads if they weren’t attached! Remember you can find me on Pinterest!

Peace be with you!

Hannah