Thursday, February 28, 2013

My husband's first love

            It has been a few weeks since Valentine’s Day and somehow I let the holiday pass without ever mentioning the love of my life here on my blog.  So now, before the month of February officially ends, I thought I’d write a post dedicated to my husband.  

            I tell my daughters- regularly- that they should try to marry a man like their father.  Tim is very patient with me, he is kind, loving, forgiving…and he makes me laugh.  I could not be more blessed.  I can only hope and pray that my girls- if they are called to the vocation of marriage- will be blessed with husbands as good and loving as mine.  

            I saw this quote on Pinterest :
The only perfect Man that you need in your life already laid down His life for you.
Search instead for an imperfect man who realizes that he needs Him, too.
I love it, because I think it is the key to a stable, happy, Catholic marriage.  

My husband is not perfect.  Neither is our marriage.  Sometimes we fight.  Sometimes we drive each other completely crazy and get on each other’s nerves.  But, through the good times and the bad, the easy years and the difficult ones, the ups and the downs of our life together, Tim and I have always had our faith.  It is something we both treasure and something we have always shared.  We both know we need God and we both try to rely on Him…..

It is through His grace that we can forgive, through His grace that we can remain always committed to each other and to our marriage, through His grace that we can overcome disagreements and remember (even after a fight) why we love each other.

Tim has a long commute to work each day.  For Lent, he has committed to making the best use of that time by listening to spiritual talks on his mp-3 player as he drives to work in the mornings.  It was from one of those talks that he got the idea to bless his family every night before bed.  For the last few weeks, after our family prayer time, Tim has taken some Holy Water and with it has traced a cross on the forehead of each of our children and me- he prays that God will bless us in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.   

         He hasn’t missed a night yet.  As my husband blesses and prays for me I am reminded- every day- how blessed I am to be married to a man who loves God above all things.  And, how awesome it is to come in second!

If you are interested in hearing how God first brought us together check out our love story here!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Anticipating the announcement....

            When Pope John Paul II was elected, I was a toddler.  When Pope Benedict XVI was elected, I had a 6 year old, who was in kindergarten, and a three year old, a two year old, and an eight week old at home with me.  Though I clearly remember Pope JPII’s death and funeral, I remember very little of the papal election that followed.   

          I do remember hearing the names of possible new popes.  And, I remember hoping and praying for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.  I remember feeling happy and filled with peace that he was the new Pope.  But I don’t remember watching for the white smoke or hearing the announcement “Habemus Papam.” 

            This time, (now that I have come to terms with Pope Benedict’s retirement) I am very anxiously awaiting the exhilaration of hearing the announcement that, “We have a Pope!”  I have spent the last few days learning all that I can about the process and preparing lessons to share it all with my children.    

           We sat down this morning surrounded by things I had printed off from the computer and we talked about the conclave, the College of Cardinals, and the procedures for electing and installing a new pope.  We looked at pictures of St. Peter’s square and I pointed out the Sistine Chapel where the conclave will take place and our new Pope will be chosen.  It is all very exciting and there is so much to learn.  

            Some of the resources we came across were so fabulous I just had to share….  So here is a list of the resources that my children and I found most helpful:

  • How a Pope is elected, an interactive slideshow:
  • A Papal Unit Study-- found on "Shower of Roses" blog
  • A diagram of Papal Vestements
  • 2 articles on Papal elections and history--
    found on "In the Heart of my Home" blog
  • Super cute crafts and activities for kids of all ages
  • Adopt a Cardinal to pray for

Sunday, February 24, 2013

In This House of Brede- a book review

In This House of Brede, by Rumer Godden is not like most of the books I read.  It does not follow the "rules of a good story" that I teach to my children as part of their grammar lessons.  There is no one plot that drives the story and is marked by rising action, an obvious definable climax, and then a nice happy resolution.  

Instead, it is a story of the intricacies of life in Brede Abbey, a monastery of Benedictine sisters.  Godden follows the nuns, whose personalities and struggles are varied and authentic, for a span of more than a decade.  Throughout that time many challenges are faced and overcome.  Many subplots are explored and then settled.  And many discoveries and epiphanies take place in the lives of the sisters and the greater community of people who love and support them.  

Godden's writing is descriptive, clear, and easy to read.  It flows so beautifully that at times I could not help but read aloud just to hear the cadence of the descriptive prose.  What I liked best about the book though was the individual temperaments of the nuns.  They were not a perfectly saintly, impeccably holy bunch.  They were just a community of women trying.  

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there were many parallels to my own life in Godden's tale of consecrated religious life.  In This House of Brede shows that cloistered communities do not offer escape.  The women living there struggle, like anyone else, with their own insecurities and temptations to sin.  They are not sheltered from the problems of the world and are not living lives of constant peace and security.   Their relationships with each other are even marked, at times, by such human emotions as jealousy, hurt, and impatience.  

Godden's book shines with the truth that even in a monastery, the path to heaven is a narrow, rocky road full of pitfalls and obstacles.   

I received a copy of this book for free from- and wrote this review for- the Tiber River website, but I have since learned that Aquinas and More Catholic Goods which is the "parent company" of is sadly going out of business.  My review has been pending approval for weeks now and I can only assume it is because the review program is no longer needed.  However, I wanted to share my review anyway.  I also want to encourage you to visit Aquinas and More while you still can, to take advantage of the 20% off sale and to support a great Catholic company for as long as it is around.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

St. Anthony....its me AGAIN...

            The other night I was privileged to participate in my home school support group’s mom’s night out.  We don’t do these very often, everyone is so busy home schooling, and caring for their homes, and running kids from one event to another.  I think this is the first one we’ve had this school year.  

            It was a lovely evening.  I relaxed with my friends and a mug of hot tea; and I enjoyed the opportunity to talk and share and laugh a little.  I got home fairly late and didn’t realize that I had lost my cell phone somewhere between arriving at the mom’s night out and going back home a few hours later.  

It wasn’t until lunchtime the next day (when I was eagerly anticipating Tim’s daily phone call from work) that I realized that my phone wasn’t in my purse.  It wasn’t in the car either.  I retraced my steps in my mind.  I know I had it in my hand as I drove to my friend’s house the night before.  I thought I’d need it to get into her gated community and had it out in anticipation, but when another driver opened the gate ahead of me I put the phone down and drove right in.  I haven’t seen my phone since…..

I searched in vain, called myself from the home phone repeatedly, and prayed to St. Anthony (one of my all time favorite saints.  He never lets me down but must surely get a little sick of hearing from me).  The phone was definitely lost.  I called my friend and asked her to search her house as soon as she got a chance.

It is amazing how much we depend on cell phones.  I don't feel like I depend on mine that much.  It is not one of those fancy I-phones with internet capability and super powers.  All it does is make phone calls (and take fuzzy grainy pictures that aren’t really worth taking at all).   And, sometimes, I can actually go days without using my cell phone.  Sometimes I even forget to charge it so that when I do need it, it has only one battery bar left.

But, losing it makes me realize how much I really do rely on it.....

Wouldn’t you know it- last night, when I was without my phone, Tim was running late from work.  He was supposed to meet me and the children at church for Stations of the Cross.  I expected him to be there very shortly after the prayers began at 5:30.  

I watched the doors of the church as I prayed, expecting him any minute.  But the Stations progressed, the clock ticked away, and still Tim did not walk through the doors.  I grew increasingly worried- as much because I knew I couldn’t call him to see where he was and what was going on.  I tried to decide what to do if he didn’t arrive before the prayers ended.  Should I wait for him outside the church?  Should I head home?  Should I borrow a cell phone from a friend and call him from that hoping he’d answer even if he didn’t recognize the number?   Should I go home and start calling hospitals in case something horrible happened?  I really tried to concentrate on the beautiful prayers but my mind and my eyes kept straying to the quiet doors in the back of the church.

Finally, Tim arrived- safe and sound though a little frustrated by the crazy traffic he’d had to deal with.  And, thankfully, my phone was found somewhere in my friend’s neighborhood by a very nice man.  In my relief I did not even ask where he had found it, I just asked him to  leave the phone at my friend’s house, which he did.  My friend will be returning it to me this evening.  

So all’s well that end’s well I guess.   St. Anthony came through for me again, as I knew he would.  But what a pain the convenience of technology can be…..

photo credit-- taken from Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Loving Lent with Little Ones


"I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by
Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”

           When my children were all much younger I had a hard time explaining Lent to them.  Advent was easy.  The children understood very well what it meant to prepare for the coming of a new baby.  But Jesus’ passion and resurrection were mysteries I struggled to put on a toddler/pre-school level.   

            I did my best to explain to them about how our bad choices hurt Jesus.  I read them children’s books that showed His passion, His crucifixion, and His resurrection.   But the whole idea of sacrifice and fasting seemed a little lost on such young children.

            Then I came up with an idea that seemed to help make the Lenten season more accessible to little minds.  I cut out dozens of paper hearts and explained to my family that for the next 40 days during our night time prayers each of us would take a heart and write a good deed on it that we had performed that day.  The idea was to encourage my children to be more loving and to think of others, just as Christ was thinking of us and loving us as He hung on the cross.  

The children’s acts of kindness included things like: “I shared my toys”, “I helped my little sister”, “I gave mommy a kiss”, “I let my friend go first”, “I prayed for our neighbor.”  It was such a simple thing but as Lent progressed that year, my children grew to enjoy being more kind and thoughtful.  They started to understand the idea of giving to others and the value of sacrificing their little wants and desires for those of others.  It gave the children a chance to practice little forms of fasting and almsgiving in addition to our prayers each day.  And, it gave us a way, as a family, to prepare our hearts for Easter and to focus on doing saintly acts, instead of sinful ones.   

We hung our “good deed hearts” on the wall in the kitchen, adding more and more of them each day of Lent.  The growing line of them along the kitchen wall provided a wonderful visual of how love can multiply when we offer kind acts in Jesus’ name.  By Easter, we were literally surrounded by love because our hearts had stretched around the entire room meeting again to make a complete circle.  
Purple for penitence

And red for the blood Jesus shed for us

            The first year with the paper hearts was about seven or eight years ago but we have continued the tradition.  And, though many other Lenten practices have joined it as the children have matured, this one continues to be special and meaningful to us.

Some of our other Lenten traditions include:
·         Attending the Stations of the Cross at Church every Friday evening
·         A family sacrifice- for us it is always desserts
·         Focusing exclusively on the Sorrowful mysteries for our family rosary
·         Participating in the Holy Week services at Church

How have you explained and observed the Lenten season with your little ones?

Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. 

Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow!

Building Rocks (pending)
Sole Searching Mamma: 15 Ways to Experience a More Meaningful Lent


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