This week’s edition of must-reads:

1. “During this time of waiting I have been reminded to be gentle on myself, I don’t need to be a mom to have a mother’s heart. I have purpose in being tender and loving to my husband, my friends and my family. Sharing that true, deep, caring smile and friendly conversation to the stranger at the post office is my purpose. Hugging and kissing on my nieces and nephew is my purpose. My mother’s heart is real. I feel it. But it is not only meant for my children.” – Hannah Russell

2. Four Reasons Young Women Are Scared to Have Kids – And Why We Should Knock It Off: “The more this myth persists — that the longer you wait the “more ready” you’ll feel – and that nobody is really ready before at least 28, or maybe 32, or maybe 35, depending on your circle of friends – the more I run into committed couples who are terrified of parenting. The myth of “readiness” is creating a monster.” – Meagan Francis

3. “Have you ever seen a woman carrying a bouquet of flowers and commented “looks like you’ve got your hands full!” I can’t answer for everyone, but I know that I have said “wow, what beautiful flowers.” Would that the world sees children as they do flowers, and that we care for our women like we do the earth.” – Carolyn

4. “Faith in God remains the only authentic way to make sense of life.” 

5. “Whether you know what your vocation is, what you are going to do with your life, what major you will choose, how you will love your husband well, how you will handle one more child in your growing family you – you are known. You, in your messy, hair not done, no make up, ugly crying way. You are known and loved. And there is nothing more freeing than being a woman who is known and loved. That woman can conquer the world. We, sisters, can conquer the world.” – Andrea Polito 

6. 😭 What a story… “St. Mark Ji Tianxiang is a beautiful witness to the grace of God constantly at work in the most hidden ways, to God’s ability to make great saints of the most unlikely among us, and to the grace poured out on those who remain faithful when it seems even the Church herself is driving them away.” – Meg Hunter-Kilmer

7. SO. TRUE. “It wasn’t until a few months in, when my pride was mercifully stripped away that I could see these growing pains as a gift. Offerings from the Father to burn away our faults and, like iron in a fire, sharpen one another in virtue. The irritations of adjusting to a shared life didn’t immediately disappear. But suddenly, what seemed like obstacles in the way of love became opportunities to love.” – Stephanie Calis

8. “A woman by her very nature is maternal — for every woman, … is called upon to be a biological, psychological or spiritual mother — she knows intuitively that to give, to nurture, to care for others, to suffer with and for them — for maternity implies suffering — is infinitely more valuable in God’s sight than to conquer nations and fly to the moon.” – Alice von Hildebrand

9. “Not all of us are capable of attaining the great intellect of a St. Thomas Aquinas, but all of us are capable of seeking the simplicity of a St. Thérèse de Lisieux. Here is the simple truth. Out of love and goodness our God made me… and you. And only one thing is necessary: I am to know, love and serve Him.” – Deacon Michael Bickerstaff

10.  Are you over on Instagram? Come join me!

Time for some #fridayintroductions! I waited and prayed for months that Summer would be here, and now that it is it feels like it's slipping through my fingers too quickly. I desperately want to stop time and stay here for a while. I'm trying to do everything I can to relish this Summer, including walking to our locally-owned coffee & chocolate shop (Winan's!) almost daily and getting an iced (decaf) coffee. By the time I walk home with it, all the ice cubes are melted. Walking to places instead of driving is a part of my dream life. Whenever we go on a trip, I try to make sure to book an Airbnb that let's us wake up in the morning and just walk out the door to discover what's down the street. That's my kind of vacationing — and I'm trying to make that my kind of everyday living now too. Back when I was in college, I used to walk everywhere, and I think that's where my love for it started. I worked at a place that was about two miles away from my apartment, and I just loved the quiet, and the air, and the sort of stillness that existed while I was moving and walking. I loved the prayers (which have always felt more like conversations) that I had with God when I was walking. I also love that walking asks of you to pay attention and to be present, and when you do those things, you begin to notice the things, and people, around you more than you did before. I like that. It feels necessary and it feels like a luxury, too: to notice and to know. It's like the first step of any relationship — this sort of seeing and the excitement to know more. I think we're called to know more, but as we've normalized being busy, that often falls to the wayside as we feel like we don't have the time to do it. But if time were created for anything, it must have been created for Love. And now I feel like I'm rambling so I'll leave it there and get going on my daily walk. Have you been getting out and going on walks this Summer? Have you noticed things that you didn’t see before? Has that changed you?

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