Thursday, September 3, 2015

Musings From Another Mother: Luanne.

Once a month, I've been making an effort to share musings from other mothers who inspire me.

January: Janelle 
February: Ashton 
March: Andrea
April: Allison + Annie 
May: Jen
June: Mallory 
July: Becky
August: Sherri 

This month, I am beyond privileged to share musings from Luanne.

We are family, luckily. But if we weren't, and I somehow met her despite our age difference and geographical distance from one another, I know we would still be friends. We're kindred spirits. Luanne is married to my mom's cousin Eddie. Eddie's mother and my mom's mother were siblings. Romagnolos. Luanne lives in Rochester, New York.

I think the best way to describe Luanne to someone who doesn't know her, is by simply explaining how she submitted her responses to this very blogpost. All of the other wonderful women who I've featured have responded to my questions either via e-mail or Facebook messenger. Luanne handwrote her responses, alongside a 2 page handwritten letter. She is heartfelt, thoughtful, generous, and loving. I love having her influence in my life. I am convinced the internet is a good force when it brings people like Luanne and I closer together, when before this modern day, we probably would not have had much of a relationship. I'm beyond grateful for her thoughtful responses and her wisdom. Enjoy!

Definition of a feminist: 
     My definition of a feminist is someone who genuinely celebrates the power of women...seeing them as equal in every way, with the same rights and opportunities.

Do you consider yourself a feminist? 
     Yes...absolutely. I want my 3 daughters to have the same opportunities as my 3 sons.

Do you feel closer to whatever you call the Higher Power since having a 'feminist awakening'? 
     I never had a feminist awakening. I come from a long line of strong and powerful women. My grandmother ((Nani)) came from a big Italian family of 6 girls and 2 boys. No one dared to mess with these women! They were opinionated, honest and direct. They were always willing to fight for what they believed in. They called the shots and didn't feel inferior to anyone. 
     I knew from an early age I could be and do anything I set my mind to. My parents valued me and my opinions from a very young age. With my Italian family I grew up with mass, saints, candles, feast days, nuns, and Holy Water. So religion has always been a part of my life. However, I have found my faith has gotten stronger the older I get and the more I live and experience life.

Do you think feminism and spirituality are related? 
     I see my spirituality as the act of honoring my spirit. And my spirit, the essence of who I am, is definitely a feminist. Actually it is broader than that. My wish is for all people to be included, treated equally and respected for who they are and what they believe is true for them.

What do you do and what encouraged you to get into it? 
     I have a Master's Degree in Elementary Education. I taught for 6 years and loved every minute of it. There was never a doubt about the career I would pursue. I was teaching 'school' on my street and to my friends since the age of 6. However, as much as I loved what I did, I wanted to be home full time with my children. Once we could afford it, I happily gave up teaching to spend my days with my son, Michael...eventually our family grew to include Lauren, Alison, Joe, Sam, and Grace.

What spiritual habits/practices/routines do you incorporate into your life? How do you bring spirituality into your family life?
     I love to read. Currently I am re-reading "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. I find websites, blogs, and videos on my iPad and read or listen to deep thinkers and their ideas on life.
     I also religiously watch Joel Osteen. Every Sunday at 8pm I am in church...really I am sitting in my living room watching Joel's current message. I also listen to him in the car. He is uplifting, positive, and puts things into perspective for me.
     As a family, we try to help people in need. If someone is sick or hurting we will light a holy candle and keep them in our prayers. We keep up with our family and friends near and far. And, of course we cheer each other on every day! I love having a big family. 

Do you want your children to have the same religious experiences you did? 
     I was raised in a very traditional Catholic church. I went to Catholic schools where I had a wonderful experience. I even returned to my elementary school to teach 4th grade!
     Ed and I picked an all inclusive Catholic church for our family. We wanted our children to see the value in a church that invited EVERYONE to communion, had women in the clergy, and a place where gay people could get married. The church is located in the city of Rochester ((New York)) and funds many charitable outreaches for the poor. Although we don't attend weekly mass, our children have made all their sacraments in this church. The atmosphere is open and welcoming to everyone, so the children can develop their own ideas around religion, morals, and values.

Is there a difference between religion and spirituality?
     For me the two are interconnected. Religion is your belief system in God//A Higher Power. Your spirituality is how you practice not only those beliefs but how you honor your soul. 

What do you think happens when we die?
     I was watching Oprah's Super Soul Sunday with Marianne Williamson. Marianne described death as "extraordinary...a light show...fabulous..." She went on to say, "Death is not the punishment but the reward." I want to go with that!

How do you talk to your kids about the big questions?
     With 6 children, we let life happen. Life provides us with plenty to discuss and debate. Our children are free to discuss anything that is important to them at anytime. We listen, advise, and guide as needed. We are a very open family where feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are put on the table and discussed openly and freely.  

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