Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in spirit, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12

Oh Lord,

Teach me to seek You and reveal yourself to me when I seek You.

For I cannot seek You unless You first teach me, nor find You unless You first reveal yourself to me.

Let me seek You in longing, and long for You in seeking.

Let me find You in love, and love You in finding.

~Saint Ambrose of Milan

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>

Name: Erin Yonke

Location: Aurora, IL

Info: I'm happily married to my husband and champion pro-life activist, Matt. I stay home with my three small boys; Ambrose (11/06), Peter (3/08), and Joseph (9/10).

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Well, I'd had hopes of writing a post about how orderly my home is, because I had such high ambitions of starting the week out peaceful and organized. The grocery shopping is done, and the fridge is cleaned out. The laundry is done, but it's not put away. Spent a good deal of time making food for the upcoming week, yet there seems to be quite a few straggling dishes around the sink still.

We DID have a nice dinner, a family walk on a reasonably nice day for February, and overall had a quiet Sunday at home. So, dishes will wait.

These pictures totally crack me up. One morning when I got home from work, they scurried around the house finding "hats" and "coats" to convince me that they were ready to go for a walk. 'Scuze the blurriness.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

On Bright Sadness.

Recently, someone mentioned to me how they were fervently searching for reading and study material for a group of women who wanted to find ways to make Easter a tangible holiday for their families.

And it got me thinking about how I was aware of that as a kid--Easter was always celebrated, but there certainly wasn't the same kind of anticipation for it as there was for Christmas. Or even birthdays, really. And I also realized how nearly impossible it is to feel that way now--now that we have Lent.

Lent is what makes Easter real.

But it has to be embraced, and that takes hard work, I'm learning. It takes a real stripping of self--a nakedness, a childlikeness, to really grasp the deep sadness, and yet still see the bright light that shines through it. Symbolically, we must be naked to follow a naked Christ.

Honestly, I don't really know what else to write about tonight. My body and soul are aching for the comforts of a feast, it's been a long day and the evening has left me headachey and weary. Lord, have mercy.

Blessings, all.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children

This is a really, really beautiful prayer. I was so pleased to find it today.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today is the day...

that my clothes just don't fit anymore. At all. My super great husband took me to the maternity outlet store to get new work pants for tomorrow morning.

Other notes:

-I'm really tired, but I feel awesome other than that. Each time I've reached this point in pregnancy, I find myself occasionally wondering if all that nausea and crazy exhaustion was imaginary. Third time around, I'm fairly certain it was not, nor has it ever been.

-We have serious pottying success here. Prior to potty training, many wise women told me to wait until he was really ready & not push it sooner than that. Totally worth it. Now that he gets it, he just does it--no help from me required. Awesome.

--Week number two of Lent is nearing an end, and the heaviness of it is starting to set in. Does Easter really come after this? What about spring? It seems ages and ages away.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"At the beginning of my religious life, suffering and adversities frightened and disheartened me. So I prayed continuously, asking Jesus to strengthen me and to grant me the power of His Holy Spirit that I might carry out His holy will in all things, because from the beginning I have been aware of my weakness." [p. 56] She later writes; "From the moment I came to love suffering, it ceased to be a suffering for me. Suffering is the daily food of my soul." - Diary of Saint Faustina

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Really good day in the snow yesterday. It was perfect packing snow--heavy and wet, but still white and crisp.

I am, admittedly, really lacking in the playing-in-the-snow department. Honestly, aside from going out for walks and occasionally shivering and bouncing on the front porch while the kids play, this is really the first time this year that I've gotten them AND myself bundled up and really dug into the white stuff. I don't especially like being cold or wet, but they don't mind. I sometimes forget that.

Anyway, we spent a couple of hours shoveling the driveway, building snowmen and building a (super duper cool) snow fort in the back yard. It was totally fun.

Sadly, Matt had taken the camera to work with him yesterday, so I didn't get any pictures. Today, though, my sister got some shots of similar adventures at Grandma's house (will post soon). And, more snow (insert quiet groan) is on the agenda for tomorrow, so I imagine our fort will once again be put to use.

Really thankful for my boys today. Feeling very proud of my potty-train-ed/ing boy and am just really overwhelmed sometimes at what sweet little men they are.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Appropriate Thing to Say When a Stranger Walks into Your Bedroom in the Middle of the Night

So there I was, in the bath at 8:30 p.m., both boys asleep, Matt off to WalMart to buy an iron. I'm enjoying my soak when all of a sudden, Ambrose cries out to have his CD restarted.

Not willing to risk his crying waking Peter, I sloshed out of the bath, piled my wet hair atop my head, hastily wrapped a towel around me and went into Ambrose's room. I don't think he recognized me at first in my fresh-out-of-the-bath garb. His response:

Hey, what's you name?

The only appropriate thing to say when a stranger walks into your room in the middle of the night.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday evening post

Just a couple of notes tonight:

1. Got to hear the sweet sound of baby #3's heartbeat on Friday. It took FOREVER to find it--considerably longer than my other two. Seems like the baby was hanging out behind the placenta, but we DID hear it. 160 bpm. (Yeah, I know it's "girly". So were my boys.)

2. I think it's a boy.

3. For the first time in about a month and a half, coffee sounds good again. Hallelujah. Work in the morning is torture without it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

So, I've been thinking a bit about my intentions for Lent this year quite a bit over the last few days. Probably would have been a good thing to settle prior to Lent actually beginning, but. You know. Here we are.

I'm not really in a good place to engage the Eastern fast very well. I never have been, really, since I've always been either nursing or pregnant during Lent. Which, in a sense, is freeing. In another sense, it leaves you completely structure-less and confused about the ways you CAN engage in the great return.

So, this year I'm focusing on just eating simply. Simple food,simple living. Adequate nutrition, but no frills. We've cut television entirely and limited our audio pretty significantly as well. I so desperately want to teach my children (and myself) to feast well by teaching them to fast well.

I want to spend more time being mentally present at home during the day. Obviously, I'm physically present. And my heart is always filled with love and concern for my family. But the actual, real days are full of distractions and escapes--email, facebook, housework. I want to spend more time looking into my family's eyes when they're talking to me, I want to respond more quickly when they require something, and I want to minimize the things that make doing that more difficult.

I want to embrace the purifying experience that mothering is, and spend more time becoming aware of God's presence in the most menial parts of my day. I am learning that, as a mother of young children, sometimes prayer doesn't come in long, quiet, peaceful stretches. It usually comes in breaths, in sighs, in quick whispers of worry. Those prayers are real. They matter. God hears them, and they count. I want to fully internalize that this season.

So those, briefly, are my larger goals this year. I'm sure there are more--and more practical ways to bring those changes about. But, there's lots of time. May your fasting be blessed!

Friday, February 19, 2010

small miracles.

I am fairly certain that a miracle happened to me last night.

Probably a miracle that has a perfectly logical explanation, but I am purposely choosing to believe that it is a miracle--a divine answering of prayer-- so if you know what the logical explanation IS, please don't tell me.

Last winter, one of our laptops fried. Totally crashed. And with it went an entire year of baby pictures that hadn't been uploaded anywhere else. Months before this had happened, we'd transfered all of these pictures from our old, caveman-like desktop TO the "more reliable" laptop, thinking that they would be safer there until we chose to print them or something. Except, they weren't. They were gone.

I had frantically searched the old machine, hoping to find them somewhere else. Hoping that I hadn't really deleted them completely. But I had. At least as far as I and my more- technologically-inclined husband could tell. They were gone.

I kept it in the back of my mind that maybe there was a possibility of recovering some of the documents from our laptop somehow. Maybe we could have someone look at it. And mostly, I tried not to think about it. It was one of those things that crept into your mind in the middle of the night: What if I never see those pictures again? Sure, they're only pictures. But I think any woman who has ever had a baby knows that they're more than "only pictures". I sent up frequent, quiet prayers that those pictures wouldn't really be lost--they meant so much to me.

Anyway, a couple of days ago, the caveman desktop had been turned on (By whom? Still a mystery. I'm guessing someone under the age of 4). I noticed the screen looking all weird and distorted and figured the machine was probably on it's last leg, turned it off, and didn't think about it again until yesterday. Anyway, when I booted it up yesterday, I dragged the mouse through the start menu, accidentally pausing long enough over "My Pictures" to notice a bunch of OLD photos pulling up--notably, December 2006-June 2007 (Ambrose's baby pictures).

And they're all there! I mean, there's a handful of photos that were directly put on the laptop that I don't have, but I'm perfectly THRILLED to see these again.

Well. That took more space than I'd expected it to. I had intended to talk about some hopes and intentions for Lent this year in this post, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow. On the agenda for the rest of the day? Headed to visit my new midwife, followed hopefully by a trip to McDonald's for a 3-year-old who successfully used the potty today.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


[Pix to follow soon -- Computer Sanfu.]

So, I guess an update is probably in order.

My boys are growing so much.
Ambrose turned three in November and is quite the chatterbox with a wild imagination. He carries a mischievous look in his eye, has a (strong) tendency toward bossiness. He likes to push the limits. He always has a plan, he always wants to know what's going on, and he wants to know why. I occasionally fear that he is far too clever (conniving?) for the good of anyone in the household. He loves his trains. And all vehicles, really--but mostly trains. He could care less if we ever fed him again. I'd guess his favorite food is probably air.

But, he has a very tender side to him and likes to be held and cuddled, and strongly dislikes being cold. I always worry about him. Not because anything is wrong--I'm not really sure why, actually. He's just so skinny and fair and seems so delicate to me.

Peter will be two next month. He is so cute. He talks in "question words"--meaning, everything he says sounds like a question--ending on a higher pitch than it started. He is earnest and kind and very aware of others and their needs--as far as a two-year-old can be. Upon being told that we are going to the store, he'll bustle around the house finding coats, shoes and socks for everyone. And then will proceed to gather the car keys, the diaper bag, my purse, etc.
His primary hobby is imitating everything Ambrose does. He's strong and sturdy and durable, but is very sweet and sensitive and not at all reminiscent of the tightly-wound, fussy baby that he was a year ago. Unlike his brother, he's an eating machine and has never complained about any food item I've put in front of him. But seriously, he is so cute it kills me.

As for me? I'm doing really well. I started working in September at a little bagel & coffee shop in town. I work a few early-morning hours each day so that I can be gone and back home again before Matt has to leave for work, and I don't miss much time with the kids. Getting up at 4am is tough, I admit, but not nearly as tough as not making enough money to pay your bills. The job is fun, though, and fast-paced and I really do enjoy it.

And, as most of you probably already know, we're expecting our newest member in September of this year. Still anxiously awaiting my first appointment with the midwife tomorrow evening, but frankly, I'd be more anxious if my abdomen wasn't ballooning like CRAZY. Something is quite obviously growing in there. And if not, something is seriously wrong.

So, there we have it--we're all caught up. Blessings, all.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's not that I meant to leave, it's just that I couldn't think anymore.

Peter, 22.5 months Ambrose, 3 years & 3 months

Well, the dust on this place is a bit overwhelming. It's like writing a first post all over again. Ack.

But, I'm back, nonetheless. For a time, at least--after more than a year!

I'm not sure what it was that made me decide to come back here recently. I think I was looking for a picture, a post that I had made--and I realized how much you forget when you don't write things down. And also, probably, it was winning the "Most Consecutive Days Without Blogging" award on Facebook. :)

Anyway, as we enter Lent, I am making a commitment to blog every day this season. Every. Day. And yes, I've erased and typed that again at least three times. I want to blog honestly, whether or not anyone is reading.

Blessings to anyone who stops by! We'll be seeing more of one another.