These testimonials want to function as a support and encouragement of the high calling of wifes, motherhood and homemaking, we would like different people to contribute with their personal story, to serve as inspiration and uplifting faith for families. We also would like not to offend neither diminish the value of other families that out of necessity or other reasons, do not follow or disagree with the values affirmed in these pages.

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Sacred Silence

One of the Cd's of Kimberly Hahn talks about the golden silence of wifes that hold their tongues and let honey flow out of their lips. It is full with scriptures and examples, as we all probably have in our own lifes experienced times too when it would have been better to not have had spoken.

Yet some other times we also reflect on a situation or conversation when we see in hindsight that we should have said something, or have defended better our faith, or have had the opportunity to let the Holy Spirit talk through us, and we had kept quiet.

But in both cases what is lacking is sacred silence, it is this silence of the soul, when it is quiet enough that we can actually listen to God, and not listen through our mumble-rumble of thoughts, but listen to a clear loud voice speaking to us: There is no doubt then of what to do! we do it immediately.

I think that this clarity is lacking in my life, partly because of my weak prayer life, partly because of my impure intentions, yet the more I see how this inner silence brings life to our deadly nature, I am more willing to strive for it.

We have seen how in periods in life when big decisions have been at stake, there comes upon us an outward  silence, like not wanting to talk about the issue at hand, for unconsciously we know that the makings of the decision are done inwardly, and the more we keep that part a sacred one, veiled from the world, the better. It is also in spiritual crisis that we observe the phenomenon, once you are talking to someone about it, the battle has already ended and the winner side has been crowned.

That is why when I see people not talking too much, I can ponder that maybe they are fighting in their soul, or are in the midst of something new.

In any case, keeping the sacred silence to hear God in our lifes, protecting the sacredness of that silence as an inward pregnancy is what I am asking Mary for.

I have been looking into a classical liberal arts program for homeschooling (http://www.classicalliberalarts.com/ ) and many things have come into my attention. One of them is the idea of weapons, tools to defeat the enemy.

Many children have grown up in christian environments but yet abandon their values once confronted with the world or evil. Dr. Michael in his webpage explains that this is in part due to a weak education, and I agree with it: In watching my oldest daughter I can see exactly the kind of superficiality and lack of depth that later on will bring many fallings and lack of self-discipline. The children it is true, learn through imitation, in a very intuitive way, but that is until certain age, after that we should aim to educate the mind in an adult way, deductively, as to abandon childish ways.

Some of us may be still very intuitive learners, but if we have not cultivated the mind and will with thinking exercises, we may as well say that we are childish. I count myself in there.

 I remember in highschool, I loved philosophy and biology, but my philosophy teacher once spent an entire hour reprimanding me for my lack of effort, he said:
-" The mind is like a chewing gum, if you do not keep chewing at it, it will become hard, and useless".
My math teacher also admonished me:
"Mathematics are not for you!".
Later on when deciding what career to go, I decided to choose sciences, I knew I was not good at it, my gifts were better applied at the language arts section, but nonetheless, partly because my stubbornness, partly because it was considered more difficult, partly because I sensed I needed to stretch my mind, I embarked on a chemistry college degree. I loved it, I was not good at it, it was hard, but loved it. I spent six years among the jesuit teachers, and they helped me anchor my mind in serious thinking, the first year was elective, those which failed to pass would not be welcomed to continue, and three of the year long courses were different branches of math! You could see my struggle. But it served me well.

Now I see my daughter being of a similar nature, she does read books like sifting flour, fast and superficially, and resists strenuous thinking. We did start formal school later on her life comparing to many modern curriculums, I believe it is better to leave the early childhood for childish learning, thus we did not engage in reading or writing since she was past six years old, but it is true that children leave the world of infancy and early learning through osmosis at a certain age, and to not adapt the education to this next stage is irresponsible. For us it is at the verge of nine years old, that children come out of their childish shell, and after first communion it is well to consider the path of disciplined thinking for educating the mind and for training the will.

Hopefully, faith would be unwavering with prayers and a trained mind, and if they wander away it might be easier to come back as it would be with the possession of Ariadne's threat in the minotaur labyrinth. Let it be weapons in our children's quiver, when they leave the nest and venture in their journey.

Chicken or egg
This is an old time dilemma, was it first the chicken or the egg? As I was thinking about our walk in faith, the dilemma question seemed once again to become handy:

In the Pilgrim's Progress book by Paul Bunyan, there is a character in the end that just in front of the doors of salvation gets turned straight to hell, and in the portrait of that character I see the accusings of the protestant world to the catholic faith: works without the Father are nothing.

Because I have been in the evangelical churches, I can see where they might think this is what happens to the faithful catholic, but nonetheless it is founded in ignorance and not in truth. Witnessed in both places, are works of man alone, people that dutyfully but erroneously, walk their way without the Holy Spirit, but this is a human error and not a catholic one. Think of Saint Therese of Lisieux for example, in The Little Way, no more clear testimony of a catholic relationship with Jesus can be found!

And this is a very important question for me, to be working out of the Father, and not out of my works, because the difference can be subtle and yet the impact is so big. Who has not received acts of selfish love, which wanted something in return or were for the sake of something else than the Glory of God, and who has received act of selfless love, that do not ask anything in return and are for the Glory of God alone? The first ones leave on the receiver a tainted pain, a bitterness in the soul, the second ones leave on the receiver an everlasting joy and a witness of Jesus Christ.

Now because I am human, I have to admit not being able to do the selfless one, the more I look the more I can see hidden motives or selfish goals underneath my good intentions, and that I am built  impossible to overcome, but the good news is that allowing the Holy Spirit to abide, He can do the works.

Some strategies though, commend on starting the first step as a sign of willingness on our part, let's say I wanted to be more loving to my children, so by reminding myself of smiling to them, I can call on that loving attittude that I am wishing for, confessing the times I am grudgely looking at them and asking for the graces to be loving, can assist me in the path, but and this is a big BUT, unless Jesus does the work, changes my heart, and loves through me, all my efforts will be in vain, and it is a constant task to check in, is this smile fake? is this step a human one? or is it in the path of being filled with the Holy Spirit?

No one would have liked the first apostles to have left the upper room at Pentecost, before they were ready, it would have been useless. Yet I see me many times, not just struggling but also blindly lead to do works without the Holy Spirit. Let God deter me from it, because the consequences are fatal, let God lead me to prayer and to patiently and dilligently let Him do the work, and let me ask forgiveness every day for my failings.

Now, because I believe that the Pope has the authority of Church, and is handed down by Jesus, then the differences in the liturgy have had to have a reason to be, and I wonder if in a time where the people were facing a great change in materialism overlooks, God intervened and changed the liturgy for the benefit of us, so we would not fall prey of works without the Father, yet at the price of losing something else. Could it be now, that the traditional liturgy in its full depth, be restored to its rightful place? Could it be that God allows these differences in liturgy for the benefit of all the faithful? He has demonstrated how He raises and destroys nations, I am faithfully calling to him in our midst.

Sin is to be in disobedience of God's laws. A friend lately told me that once God had helped her take away the most obvious sins, there was a lot more to do, because the little sins, as she was calling them, where more difficult to erase, they were more subtle, and the cleaning demanded more.

As I remember my prideful nature and how God had showed me to humble myself I also realized how far I was from true humility. The events had evolved in a way that suddenly I felt rejected by the community, I did not know why, something I said? something wrong I did? did my writings offended anybody? It did hurt but still not knowing what had caused the offense I was restless. One day after though, it came to me that it was my pride again being on the way, how could I be hurt otherwise? Of course it was my pride that stood there smiling at me, like a naughty child....After that realization I could be truly sorry, sorry that for any reason I offended them in some way, and feeling the hurt they may have felt, even without knowing the cause yet.

When I was in college my best friend used to advise me in many things, one of them was on privacy: she admonished me that by being like an open book, in my conversation with others, they will use that knowledge to hurt me, or to their advantadge. I was staring blank at her....how could that be my fault? I thought that the power to hurt was on the listener, not on the discloser. Yet as time went by, I saw me also in the position of abusing the knowledge I had been offered in peace, with results of hurting others.

God has promised to prune us, to cut the branches that don't bear fruit, and that must be done again every season. I am grateful that God shows me again and again more of my failings, and prunes further my prideful branch, please God allow me to be rejected ever, because I deserve it, let me grow in humilty as I listen to you.

Peer pressure
 It was long ago, when I was barely 12, that one event took precedence in my life as peer pressure, and impacted very much my behavior:

I was transferred for 7th grade from one school to another, being this next one more of a formal disposition, with uniforms and richer families. I was used to trying to excel at homework and I would always raise my hand when the teacher asked a question, when to my surprise, in this new school, the children would look very down on me for that. I went home that first day and decided to stop being a good student, I wanted to fit in and be cherished by the group, and with my still childish mind i made myself up the promise to NOT do good if that meant to be accepted by my peer group.

After that I have had my ups and downs with peer pressure, I hurt many times, from the conflict of doing good or being accepted, as everybody that have been in this position have felt as well, until little by little I let go of man's acceptance and started depending completely on God's acceptance. It has helped me to be a stranger almost all the time, an outsider, somebody from the outskirsts of society to whom people do not expect a lot.

That is also why in protestant churches we faced a serious problem: the moment we started to look for community we realized that if we were to be let down, if we were not accepted, or we were not accepting, we would have to change churches continually, because if the interpretation of the Bible is so much dependant on human inspirations, it would be up to man and not God to judge us or for us to judge them, then it was obvious that we had to play again the game of peer pressure, and let the dominant leader rule our world or be put aside by them, and viceversa from us. Not so in the Catholic church, because no matter that we are still sinful humans, and eventhough dynamics between personalities would still appear while we are in the path of sanctification, the community is safeguarded by God's authority, given from Pope to Pope, down to the priesthood, and not to man. So we are relieved of the peer pressure and we come under God's pressure.

The model of schooling is also at home for us because of the same reasons, we cannot expect a child to defend from the peer pressure of the group he is in, so it is better to stay at home, where fortunately the family is under God's authority with the husband as a head of the household and the wife as a help-meet. These dynamics represent in themselves the inner core of the teaching of Jesus Christ and the Church, and to witness to the children the sincere efforts to attain them is an honor and a duty.

Journey of Faith

When David and I got married and lived in San Francisco we were attending the Catholic Curch of the Mission district, soon though, the attittudes of the lay people, among them our own ones, delivered a sense of unworthiness, a sense that the catholic life was not changing the individual sinful nature of each one of us, that all of it was a mere hypocrite representation.

We stumbled across a Mennonite Church back then and felt a sense of relief, some people were actually trying to live the gospel! for the rest of the time in San Francisco we attended their church. I got very interested in the way of living the plain life and started to do paintings about the Amish ( God has gived me a gift that whenever i do some painting, the painting comes true some time after).

The journey continued as we moved to Mallorca, Spain and we attended the Anglican Church there, which we felt similar to the Catholic in San Francisco, similar ritual, and similar rendering of nothingness.

Upon coming back to USA and travelling through the state of Wisconsin, which is the native state of my husband, we came across a most beautiful region, with valleys and tops, all green and alife, and also populated with the Amish. We both felt a sense of belonging and decided to make that part of the world our residence.

But before we could settle there we stayed one year in Madison, and we delved in the traditions of the Jewish liturgy and their way of life.

When we reached the Driftless area, we attended first the Catholic Church of a medium size town, and again, the same feeling of voidness around the liturgy and the community fell upon us. Because we also had relatives instructing us on the protestant world, we decided to listen their message and for three years we attended different Protestant Churches, especially the evangelical ones. The pull to become like Jesus was stronger in them compared to that of the Catholic Church, and we grew in a relationship with our Lord and with knowledge of the scriptures.

By that time also my personal journey was intense in facing my prideful nature, and I got lost from the right path, following the analogy of the Pilgrim's Progress book, just in the crossroads in front of Evil  and I fell prey of the voltors of self without even knowing it.

Finally with the help of a rather harsh suffering time I listened to God's calling, and I asked Him to show me the way.  By that time we had found a Traditional Latin Mass, just around the area we first had fell in love with that land, and were attending regularly.

Now that is not to say that one church or one religion or even one form of the Mass is better than the other. I think that the Catholic Church has the 100% of the Truth, as revealed to the apostles and the Holy Father in succesion, but some people attending other services may also have some part of the truth and live it very fully. In our experience, which is subjective nonetheless, the congregations that have showed more alignment with the teachings, have been the traditional ones, either protestants or catholics, we tend to see a leaking of faith when the traditions go away, which should not occur per se, but is nonetheless a generalized outcome. On the other hand too much form or tradition can be endangering by  a hardening of the heart, and that would be even more dangerous than a lessening of faith, just as the Pharisees were doubly faulty on the eyes of Jesus.

In all this time I was longing for a community of believers, for us the reason to leave the city of San Francisco was not so much the Back to Land Movement, though it had its obvious attractive sides, nature, self- sufficiciency from the worldliness world... but always when putting things in a scale it seem that God wanted us to learn not to be self sufficient, on the contrary, to become very dependant on the community, as much as we are dependant on our spouse for sanctity. I think some are called to priests and nuns and saints, who can minister to the world at large, but yet others that are called to family life can have that same longing to extend this love in the way Christ show us to a fellow community of believers, and this is in itself a most powerful witness to the world:

-The Lord did not take the first Christians out of their surroundings, he left them where they were and gave them a power to rise above themselves. 

-The greatest witness of the first Christians was their love. "See how these Christians love each other", people said. We must love like that.

-Yet some other times God called us out of Egypt, out of bondage, and it could be that now it is a time for some to be called by God to go farther away.

We have been considering the ideas of a community for a long time, and we were very excited to see people with actual fear and love of God thinking about the same possibilities, for us the Catholic Back to the Land Movement is an opportunity to reflect the life of Jesus Christ, to live according to God's laws, to really love your neighbor as yourself.

It is a Commandment to love God, then it is necessity to love your spouse, and this love does not mean of course the love of the first time or the love of some couples that share very little of their time, no, it is a love that endures, ( is easy to show loving kindness at the first meeting with people, yet how you continue to do so for ever), that  real love Saint Therese said one time is the one that surpasses hurt: "Love until it hurts, and then it does not hurt any more". This is the kind of exercise I am willing to go for and I think it is actually demanded of any Christian.

The rural life, besides being an advantage to be of-grid from the modern unstable world, to bring survival, gives us the excellent opportunity to train this dependency upon each other, this lack of comfort, comfort that modern civilization allures us with, this constant asking for the bread of today and complete trust in the Lord.

The role of homemakers
I have titled this post the role of Homemakers to differentiate between the two basic roles between husband and wife.

It is obvious that nowadays for many reasons the differences between the roles have been blurred, and many times reversed, furthermore, despite many of us encounter occasions that exemplify the mistakes being done when the roles are diminished or interchanged it is still difficult to navigate upstream in the river of what is socially accepted in modern times.

The role of the wife is that of a nurturer, God designed woman with the flexibility and capacity to move herself , to enlarge and accomodate the unknown in herself, and to let herself be transformed, thus giving birth to the new life, she acts as a receptacle of this life, and thus she is a vessel, with her curved forms allowing Love to be poured out.

Man on the contrary, is designed as a provider, a focal force like a pointy arrow that would go out into the unknown, and bring it home, is a scene opposite of the previous one in its essential form, he is the protector and the guardian, with solid walls that hold strong, the captain of the boat in this ocean world full of good things and bad things, he is the discriminator and the decision-making that accepts the responsability of his flock.

These two imageries depict what is clearly stated in the Bible, in many places and in many forms, one of them when it says that the husband is to act as the head of the household inasmuch Christ is the head of the Church, and the wifes should submit to his leadership, as the Church submits to Christ.

This example is one of the most used when explaining roles, both at home and outerly, yet the significance of this example sometimes escapes many households. God establishes the law because of His Love for us, and it is indeed many times difficult to see the goodness in obeying his law when we are here in this earth, yet, isn't it this same blindness that crowds our children when they listen to us admonishing against eating candy all day? We are also God's children, but we have free will, and thus we could decide to eat candy all day if we wish, and many times, we actually do.

My first difficulty in obeying this law, was that I did not agree with it, I did not think that being submissive to my husband would be good, I thought along the lines of many feminists and modern women, that we are created equal and so I would not submit to anyone. I was wrong in my understanding of what being submissive is, because it is not being a slave of someone, or that my voice would be silenced forever, at least in decision matters, no, it is more like a position of the heart.

So at some point in my marriage I was blessed to have a change of heart regarding this law, and I accepted the husband leadership, and it was a relief, a joy came to sing in my heart as I was letting go of my power to be manly.

Yet this starting point in obedience did not help resolve all things, buried in my character were deep seated attittudes and automatic responses, I still was faster than my husband, and more efficient and better at doing many things! how could I relegate my innerself?

At this point I was homeschooling, and not working outside the home, but nonetheless I started working in the home, taking care of other children, thinking this would still be in alignment with God. What was my surprise when I discovered that this was not in my case, while working in the home i still got to be a provider, and also i got some of the rewards of outside working, the acknowledge of your work, the financial reward, the social status...I was still in a man's world, and not letting my femininity come ashore. Now this perhaps is not the same for everyone, you may say these are outwards signs, and you could be in the work field and also be very feminine, but outward signs are also a representation of what goes on inwardly, and in my case it was obvious that the more I worked in the outside world, the more my home was suffering. Your treasure is where your heart is. You cannot be a vessel and at the same time an arrow...

Little by little, by prayer and asking for God's help, he has showed me more points in my life where I was lacking obedience, and some of the times the lessons have been bluntly and strongly put in front of me.( I am so grateful). Once the lesson is seen it is more than easy to turn away from the old habits, there is no looking back, how can you do different than obeying once you have seen? It is indeed an easy deed to obey when you have been shown. I pray that my faith will keep me asking for God's help, with Mary's intercession, that the Holy Spirit would uncover my eyes; and for all the times that I am still blind that Jesus would lead me in obedience by faith.