I was new to the world of parish secretarying when I met Erin Giddens. In my role as Chief Operator of All Things Related to the Parish Office, I helped her set up her oldest child’s baptism and reception.

Over the years, Erin and I have become pretty close friends, even to the point of her asking my husband and I to be godparents for her second child (which continues to inspire me). She’s now the mom of four kids, homeschools, and runs her own business. I was inspired, during a recent visit when we were talking about how she wants to write more “just for fun,” to interview her.

I hope you enjoy her wisdom as much as I did!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a homeschooling mother of four children. My son, 8, and daughter, 6, are the focus of homeschooling right now. They have been homeschooled since the beginning. My other daughters, ages 4 and 2, provide much entertainment and chaos in daily life!

I am also a small business owner and work mainly from my home. My passions include natural and alternative health using essential oils, emotional healing from multiple cesarean sections and the effects of traumatic deliveries in the Catholic family, and supporting and advocating for the unborn and homeless.

In addition, I’m a wife of 10 years to the most Catholic man I know, who coincidentally isn’t even Catholic (yet)!

Tell us a little about what inspired you to start Lil Shop of Oils, and how it’s evolved in the last few years.

Over the past three years, I have worked to build my small business, Lil Shop of Oils, into an additional income stream for my family. I have felt that my number one responsibility is staying out of mainstream workforce and focusing on raising and educating my children.

In the mean time, as a result of underlying health issues that I attribute to my cesarean births, I have found much comfort and healing using alternative healing modalities. I’ve been blessed to share this with a large number of families with similar goals.

It’s a business of sharing our personal stories and testimonies and guiding others to find a solution to their health problems. It’s a way of life that comes naturally and with the right guidance and support we are changing lives.

I meet the most amazing mothers, the most supportive husbands and the most resiliant and brave children. I’m inspired and motivated every day by the sharing, learning growing and healing that I witness every day.

What challenges do you face as a Catholic wife and mother?

My biggest challenge as a Catholic wife is my non-Catholic husband. It absolutely is no one’s fault, although it easy for me to place blame on external factors of which I never had any control.

The challenge is not in converting him, per se, because the Holy Spirit works wonders on him that I can visibly attest to. Rather, the challenge is one of patience, directed at me. To be patient and be on “God’s Time” and not “Erin’s Time” and to witness a slow conversion, in a world where everything needs to be done now is extremely difficult.

My lack of patience, my quick to anger attitude challenge me to conform more slowly to God’s will for a faith-filled family.

As a Catholic mother, my biggest challenge is setting the example of patience and prayer.

If you were to share one piece of wisdom, what would it be?

The biggest poisons in my life, the stains that have shaded my soul now and again, include being tolerant of sin, ignorant of the truth, and judgmental in my heart. My advice to anyone growing in their faith, with young children at home, is to teach your children how defend the Faith with humility and perseverance, study the Saints & Scripture together, and remove the curse of judging others from your mind by regularly going to Confession and asking for pardon during your nightly prayers.

How do you prioritize your time so that you don’t get bogged down or overwhelmed?

Prioritizing my time has never worked! I am constantly overwhelmed with what is not getting accomplished. Whether maintaining a clean home, a quiet classroom, a long-term friendship or a stable business decision, it isn’t until I sit down and focus on the previous weeks or months that I am clearly able to see what has been accomplished. Living in the present has never allowed me to feel like I’m on any sort of right track. But, in looking back, in evaluating the positivies, I am able to prepare and accept God’s chosen path for me with more dignity and acceptance.

Be sure to visit Erin at Lil Shop of Oils or read her other writing. She’s also on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. She has also just started blogging at The Blessing Bucket and there are rumors that you might find her in one of my favorite havens for Catholic moms very soon… 🙂

Top photo 2005, by Mary Schmidt