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I saw this photo on my instagram a few days ago, and this morning when I woke up tired I remembered what I had read:

joyprouty: 3:30am. stopped working to go to sleep and at that same moment the baby woke up to feed. i’ve learned a lot in the last three months of living on the road. the biggest perhaps is that the thing that creates the most bitterness in my heart is my feelings of entitlement towards things… such as a full night’s rest, or a bed/room/space/time of my own. somewhere in the back of my mind I harbor bitterness for the lack of sleep/neediness of children/the daily grind but it is just because I somewhere along the line decided I was entitled to the nature of my life as it was previously and then I grow bitter because the two lives don’t match up. trying to learn to be more grateful these days. choosing continually to let the expectations go. even if it means I don’t sleep. because that just means I have a baby in my arms healthy enough to cry to express her needs. I trust God will give me the strength to serve my family tomorrow because he trusted me enough to make me a mother. I choose to see His gifts instead of my useless bitterness. that is all for my wee morning hours deep thoughts. ;). hugs to the night mamas out there in the dark illuminated by the glow of their iPhones alongside me. 😉

Usually, when I don’t get the sleep I needed and it’s out of my control, even without being resentful of anyone, I get imbued w this great sense that some sort of compensation is expected, required, that I be given extra time to rest, without kids and to let myself slack off a bit around the house etc, because I’m so tired. Then of course when reality and my ideal don’t line up,
I get even more frustrated and angry.
It’s the tired days that almost always leave me frustrated and further from God because then it’s all about me.

Just because I’m tired from being up in the night, doesn’t give me any right to special treatment… ( during that day)

This has been my single biggest hang up that makes for what feels like a bad day. Joy, thank you so much for articulating this so clearly, so I can recognize it and start to change my ways!

There are many days when I start to feel so frazzled from the constant barrage of kid requests and complaints, and I hear it in my voice, that I am not being so patient or kind anymore, and I know I NEED a break, but still I don’t always get it- and yes that leads to more frustration and anger as well.

So, today, any day, maybe God will grant me rest or maybe not, not today, maybe He’ll provide in other ways. Either way, I will give thanks.

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Boy could I have used this truth yesterday…

JC jun 26
Stay calmly conscious of Me today, no matter what. Remember that I go before you as well as with you into the day. Nothing takes Me by surprise. I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me. I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents. Collaborating with Me brings blessings that far outweigh all your troubles. Awareness of My Presence contains Joy that can endure all eventualities.

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A middle of the week challenge from Ann, that I extend to you:

When Monday gets caught in your teeth like a piece of spinach, the crazy thing is you could dare to laugh — it gets things unstuck.

You could — you could dare not to take yourself so seriously; dare to take yourself as Beloved.

Dare to not to give yourself a lecture, but dare to give yourself grace. His Grace is always the most amazing of all.

So go ahead — Dare to be brilliant — just seek the light in everything. Dare to believe joy is revolutionary: it goes straight against the way this dark world spins. Light is always a radical thing in a dark world.

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As I went to do a chore I didn’t want to and then had Jesus join me, and it suddenly hit me: I don’t gripe when I have Jesus with me because then it’s not a burden…It doesn’t matter what it is.

Something to remember often. With Him, nothing is a chore. Hard work maybe, but not a chore.

Also, through the way I have been personally relating to Jesus as a physical person, something deep and childlike going on in my heart. I want to be Your saint- and that means I need to let You live in me, not to be perfect! Holiness is simply letting You live in me, all the time.

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Jan 5 a

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This morning DH set off to his mom’s with the kids because I needed a day to myself, but that moment at the door with the sun orb through the fluffy falling snowflakes, I almost ALMOST changed my mind and went with my family for the day – but I didn’t. I knew I needed SOMETHING – time alone, God, both, to get myself back to where I could give of myself and not feel so put out by it. But oh how I wanted to be with them all when they played in the snow!

This afternoon I was still struggling and feeling just a little bit lost before I had a chat with my best friend. The first thing was I got to tell her what God did in my heart during this year’s Rise Up:

On the first night He stirred my soul so deep, the talk called us to respond to God, to say yes to whatever He asks of us, there was a beautiful prayer of abandonment on one of the slides, and a video of Mary’s fiat that moved me to tears. I felt a call to say an unequivocal ‘yes’ to God and I threw the doors of my heart open wide.

The next night I went to confession. I had taken the usual time to prepare my heart and jot down my list on paper as I always do. So when it was my turn I walked in and sat down. I started in with my list but suddenly the priest stopped me and took my paper! He said he felt I needed the challenge, and to just tell him what was on my heart. I don’t like being put on the spot like that, but I had no choice so naturally I started in on all the things I’d been feeling, most of all, my struggles with the spiritual life and not measuring up. I try so hard to do what I know God is calling me to and turn to Him in everything and then I forget or I don’t and I just feel really frustrated! (I know I’m weak, and part of that frustration comes in forgetting to ask for His help when I need it!) The priest started to tell me how much God loves me and told me I needed to accept myself. I was taken back because I truly thought I had come to the point of acceptance – especially when I would look back on who I used to be and the person I’ve become with his guidance – I loved my life and I really felt like I had a handle on this self-acceptance thing! I was so surprised by what he said that I asked him if this was something we could go back and forth on, because I knew I USED to accept myself…

But after a little while I realized that he/He was right. Especially with this struggle to prove myself with homeschooling and managing my house, I found I was trying so hard to be perfect for God, determined to get it right, that I felt crushed when things fell apart, and it was unhealthy. Worst of all, I was denying God the chance to help me, because even though I knew He loved me and that I needed his help, I was determined to fix me.

By now adoration was over and I had moved to the chapel to finish sorting out my thoughts because I was nowhere near ready to just go home. I was conversing with God and journaling furiously through my thoughts: I’d been saying to God: ‘I say yes to You, I do, just let me fix myself first.’ That’s not quite right, rather: ‘Please help me fix myself, please fix me, I want to do Your will.’ I wasn’t letting Him love me right where I was! I’d heard many times how we are not our faults – past OR present – but still, there was this part of me that CLUNG to this desire, this goal to have it all together: my kids, my marriage, my house… – and I was willing to get God’s help to do it, I was, but still, STILL, I’ve desperately clung to that notion of order and God called me out of it. My fiat is to say yes to the mess that is me.

So I started accepting my struggles and forgiving myself for all the things that weren’t perfect in my life. And I actually caught myself thinking: ‘Ok, God told me I need to accept myself… now how do I fix this?!’ It was that ingrained! ‘Lord, I’m broken, fix me!’ I know I don’t have to fix myself for God, but still I keep trying!

Then into my chaos God spoke words of His love: ‘It’s not your job my child to fix yourself, your life. Why deny me that which gives me the greatest pleasure?’

The childlike cries of my soul were quieted, but He wasn’t finished.

‘Stop doing, just STOP. Start BEING.’

‘Don’t focus on saying prayer x,y,z and a rosary and bible reading and schooling and cleaning and being intentional in your marriage – although all of these are important too. Don’t focus on offering every time-block and being sure to ask for help every moment -on seeing me everywhere and in everyone.

Just walk with Me beside you. I’m always there.’

Serenity is not something you can DO, you just have to be.

‘When you stumble, scared, unsure, just reach out and take My hand, lift your heart to Me, 1 word, ‘help’, ‘Jesus’, just the cry of your heart and I’ll be there my child, no matter what it is you are facing.’

He led me to approach my morning prayers differently, almost challenged me to take 5 min and just be silent, and not lift up a single prayer.

‘Take 5 min – Just sit/kneel be in My presence in silence. For now, don’t lift up a single prayer, you need to learn to listen with your heart. Nothing more, not now. It’s just like you wrote earlier this week, really, you have stored up a treasure of prayers and graces for your loved ones, right now you need to just let go and be.’ (and receive My love).

At my last Rise Up, I was too Mary, God called me to stop just sitting in His presence and to start serving. Since then I’ve been so busy doing I’ve become Martha, I’ve gone too far the other way and forgotten how to sit at the feet of Jesus!

I knew I had to let go and accept myself but I still found it hard. It seemed to be a major block to my heart being fully open to say yes, so the next night when we were to be prayed over to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to reach out to others, I had to bring it as my own prayer request, and afterwards I did feel freer, more joyful.

When I came back to the chapel early the next morning God spoke His love over me and reminded, reassured me of who I am in Him.

‘Your yes too, can change the world. Be content with who you are. That’s who I’m madly in love with.’

(I was trying to earn God’s approval. Not because I was trying to ensure my way into heaven – I know Jesus already did that, it was just out of my love for God.
He’s given me so much and I felt I wanted to give everything back by being as perfect as possible for Him. But I know now watching me like this was killing Him. I love you just the way you are, stop trying to be somebody else! )

‘And, what of DH? You are the only one (human) who can reach him, his heart, his soul. He needs you, without you, he would be lost.’

‘You’re who I thought about from all eternity, before the world began.’

By His grace, I can let go of my need for perfection now and accept my human struggles. I know I don’t have to fix myself because in His eyes right now, I’m already perfect.

Talking about all this with my best friend and sharing the rest of my Rise Up story of discovering His love all over again, I realized some things and they struck me anew.

-I told her, when I’m feeling like I did yesterday (like everything’s getting messed up) , it’s because I’m not seeing right! I need to recognize this, and then change how I view my world. I need perspective!
Always, always, I have to BE and not let the DOING take over. – Today I will DO less and BE more.

-I guess I don’t have to pray ‘Lord help me with X,Y,Z’, and really, besides reminding myself by saying the words, why would I? He already knows what I’m thinking and feeling! It seems all I have to do is lift my heart, it’s just a desire! It’s all about heart lifting.

Heart lifting. Be IN Me.

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Jan 28

When I find pearls of spiritual wisdom I long to share them with others. These exerpts are taken from Rediscovering Catholicism, a book by Matthew Kelly. I found them helpful, and so I share them with you.  (All emphasis is mine)

Work:

The Authentic life is compatible with any honest human activity. All honest work can be transformed into prayer. You can transform your work into prayer one hour at a time, one task at a time. . . Offer the actions of your life to God as a prayer,( whether you are washing dishes, studying for an exam, relaxing…) and by your inner intention you will transform ordinary daily activities into the noblest tasks. By doing so, you will elevate tedious tasks to spiritual exercises that draw you nearer to God. This is how modern men and women in the midst of busy lives can seek and find intimacy with God.

Your daily tasks have spiritual value. You don’t just work for money. When you work hard and pay attention to the details of your job, you cooperate with God as he transforms your soul. (p75)

Holiness:

In a world of rapid and constant change, it is what is unchanging that allows us to make sense of change.

The universal call to holiness is unchanging. The north star of the spiritual life is this call to holiness. It leads unfailingly to Jesus, who is, “the Way, the Truth and the Life’, even when He seems distant or unknown. It is vital we discover this great spiritual north star, so that in times of confusion or decision we can ask ourselves, ‘ how is this situation an invitation to grow in holiness?

[–Holiness brings us to life. It refines every human ability. Holiness doesn’t dampen our emotions, it elevates them. Those who respond to God’s call to holiness are the most joyful people in history. They have a richer, more abundant experience of life, and they love more deeply than most people can ever imagine. They enjoy life, all of life. Even in the midst of suffering they are able to maintain a peace and joy that are independent of the happenings and circumstances surrounding them. Holiness doesn’t stifle us, it sets us free.–]

My experience of people and life continually teaches me that those who have no central purpose in their lives fall easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles and self-pity. I have also learned that those living authentic lives are not looking over some hill or around the next corner to some elusive future happiness. They simply try to be all they can be, here and now, and that brings with it a happiness all it’s own.

True Worship:

Whenever Jesus did something extraordinary, the people of that village wanted  to put him up on a pedestal and make him a king. At those moments, he always left the town or region he was in. Why? Because Jesus didn’t want people to fall down  helplessly before him and worship him. He was, of course, worthy of worship, but he wanted the highest form of worship: Jesus wanted people to imitate him. He didn’t come to solve all our problems, he came to show us the way. He came to show us that when we cooperate with God and with each other we become vessels of light and love.

(Exerpts are taken from Rediscovering Catholicism, a book by Matthew Kelly)

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Here are is my usual friday quick take gift list. It’s like a look and find puzzle this week because there’s several big news items hidden in these gifts 🙂

Fri Nov 9
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The quiver of a spider on a moving web.
Teaching our first lesson of Seton Pre-K Religion. The kids largely paying attention and even asking questions 🙂
My big son closing his eyes with a smile, thinking of God, as I explain how we can talk to Him
Learning something I didn’t know on p 6 of my kids pre-k religion book!
My big son freely closing his eyes to say his grace at lunch!
His utter fascination with a Christian girl on youtube and her song cover
My kids excited about praise music – ‘It’s all things possible, sweet! Mom, it’s all things possible!‘
baby looking very suave with the top hat
A Family drum session on the bathroom door
Praying with power, even in the car!
Coming home to an old friendly welcome at confession
Starry ceiling over my front door/entrance/porch

Sat Nov 10
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-woah moment, daddy joining us for the rosary on the couch and even joining in the prayer for a moment!
– breathtaking skyscapes
-puddles-filled tire tracks – tire track puddles reflecting in the open sky
-patches of light
-the lines where sun meets shadow
– Date afternoon – a trip for two to the valley and going for a test-drive together.
-sitting in a dealership office with DH, 5 years later and a little wiser
-Providence – DH: ‘Can’t believe we got this deal…(exactly what we wanted and almost too good to be true etc)’ (Hey, not to get to faith-y about it, but I find that when the timing is right, things just have a way of working out. 🙂
-hope at the window
-the clink of my ring when my hand shakes in prayer
-a booth full of educational books at the Christmas craft fair
-a nice evening of shopping with DMIL and the baby
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Sun Nov 11
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Being the blessing – making brunch for my mom
Sharing my favorite movie (based on a favorite childhood story) with my Mom

Mon Nov 12
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The kids and I all going camera crazy together
-Wisdom from Dr Seuss- God speaks to me through a children’s book
-my 4 yr old putting daddy (and his atheism) on the spot by asking him out of the blue if he knows God
-the power of the sun, both of them. (the sun drying my diapers and the Son redeeming and transforming our lives).
-A place for everything (and everything in its place)
-A very productive day bringing order out of chaos
-Treasure in the mismatched sock box: 13 complete pairs!

Tues Nov 13
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-fluffy white clouds behind tree branches
-droplet ring around the base of my coffee cup
-hashing out some more faith discussion with my MIL
-soft sound of soap bubbles
-shimmer of suds popping randomly
-the graces You poured out on me tonight , to put my commitment into action– doing the dishes/kitchen though way past tired and cranky – I couldn’t have made that sacrifice w/o You.

Wed Nov 14

-Thank You that actions speak louder than words. My words lacked grace last night, but by your grace my actions told a different story. The kitchen is clean, usually I would have given up in frustration when DH wouldn’t help and would have left it for morning.
-I get to be with You, and receive You today, it’s a good day 🙂
-baby’s messy wet hair and little trusting eyes looking up at me from his carseat
-a dear priest saying our mass again today
-my oldest showing promise of actually behaving at church even when his brother wasn’t
-tuna wraps
-a nice mellow laid back day at playgroup
-painting a Christmas igloo
-Thank you that I’m not a mail carrier or a garbage man, and I get to be a mom indoors today!
-treasure in a chocolate tin – discovering cherished dolls and their clothes etc that I had thought were lost somewhere
-A treasure tin of craft supplies: 6 colors of glitter, a container of sequins, and googly eyes. My childhood self is very happy 🙂
Order in my cupboard and on my counter, just from a few plastic baskets.
Baby’s tentative little steps all across the room
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Thurs Nov 15
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-My son, easily reading his rhyming card words right off the bat, without even making the words with the letters. And reading correctly, even though the words were harder: gate and skate had the different vowel sound. 🙂
-reward for even the smallest faithfulness: WHAT A DIFFERENCE when I purposefully stop whatever I’m doing for the next task now I’m finally largely on schedule again! The afternoon is going really well!
-Time when I honor my commitment to God. (keep the routine)
-my square cupholder, holding one last chocolate milk carton.
-clean laundry put away in drawers
-a tidy main house
-the feast that awaits
-the gift of sharing my testimony again
-surprise gift of blessed items, the weapon for my goliath
-a long blessed conversation with my co-leader after the study

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