2011 has been exciting here at Das Schmidt Haus. Here’s my year in review, 7 Quick Takes style.
I started 2011 as a new full-time at-home parent after resigning from what many called the “dream job.” Many people didn’t understand my decision to walk away from a job with a very promising career track. Heck, I don’t necessarily understand my decision and am still unpacking it all. I spent months praying about it, and God was clearly calling me to this. The decision was, has been, and is the right one for our family. Yes, there has been financial stress in moving to one income, but I am continually tickled by all the unexpected blessings that have come our way since making this change.
Joel is in the second year of diaconate formation, a process that is four-years long in our diocese (Des Moines). He wrote a beautiful post about the process a few months ago. The formation program requires attendance at one weekend retreat per month at Conception Abbey & Seminary College in Missouri as well as local instruction presented by our diocese one additional Saturday per month. I am required to attend all the sessions and do all the assignments as well.
The busyness of it all aside, I am so proud of Joel and very honored to be walking this journey with him. We humbly ask for continued prayers — we cannot do this alone, physically or spiritually. And ever since saying yes to this call, we have been battling a good bit of spiritual warfare. As a good friend said, “The Devil doesn’t want you to be a deacon, Joel.” Ironically, St. Michael the Archangel was the random saint selected for me through the 2012 Saint’s Name Generator. How apropos! St. Michael, defend us in battle!
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Joel and I were blessed to be part of the million who attended the Beatification Mass of Blessed Pope John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday. Celebrating Mass and receiving Eucharist consecrated by our Holy Father was an amazing experience. The Catholic Mirror, the newspaper for the Des Moines Diocese, ran a story on our experience — full details there.
After the Beatification, Joel and I continued our pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey visiting many important sites found in the New Testament. One stop along the pilgrimage included Mary’s House in Ancient Ephesus (Turkey), said to be the last place St. John the Apostle took Mary to live. It is a pilgrimage point not only for Christians, but for Muslims as well given they believe Jesus is a prophet and honor Mary’s role in his life. Her home has become a place of prayer for Muslim women suffering from infertility and many make a pilgrimage to this sacred site and pray for Mary’s intercession.
Many of you know our past struggles with miscarriage. Well, I had a very powerful encounter with our Blessed Mother during this visit. Quite simply, the Blessed Virgin Mary has been my living sign of hope this year!
And . . . a few short weeks after returning home from pilgrimage, we learned we are expecting a baby! Due February 2, we are gearing up for life with a newborn once again.
This summer our daughter Lucy fell against the bottom rail of our wood picket fence and split her forehead wide-open. It took 15 stitches from a plastic surgeon to close it up. And I thought these things didn’t happen to little girls?!
It could have been worse!
We attended the 2011 Catholic New Media Conference in Kansas City this past October. We met so many people who enrich our lives and draw us deeper into a relationship with Jesus through their faithful online presence. We are honored and humbled that so many pray for us — we pray for them, too! We look forward to continuing to build and beginning new relationships with the Catholic new media community in 2012. We’ve saved the date for CNMC12 in Dallas, Texas. Have you? Hope to see you there!