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Archive for the ‘CCO’ Category

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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Fri Jan 18
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Baby sitting alone back to the world, looking at his book
Watching him poke the train off the end of the bridge over and over
baby looking intently at his feet when I put shoes on him for the first time

Discovering in a deeper way, God’s covenant love
The difference eliminating activity choices made just for the baby! I watched him actively play with a few things, and happily sit in his little chair looking at a few books as well.
A living room that really feels like a living room

Sat Jan 19
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baby standing atop the living room table, proudly looking out the window
Baby sitting on the edge of the fireplace, his own little baby seat
all of us working together on a birthday card
a perfect card with matching wrapping paper

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Rocking the flash – indoors, with beautiful results
my oldest and a dice counting game
a delicious authentic feast
A 1 year old’s perfect aim with icing
boys and their cake
through the twilight window, Daddy and the boys throwing snowballs
watching baby discover the new locks we put on the cupboards 😉
a non violent logic-based futuristic video game – rediscovering my inner gamer – portal date night with hubby

Sunday Jan 20

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-Cuddling one of the greatest gifts I have, the man that You gave to me, the man You made, for me.
-baby straining to see things way out of his sight/reach
-the joy of intimacy and partnership
-my oldest standing at my side, attentively listening to the gospel at church for the first time
-a captivating icon of jesus
-a homily hit out of the park, full of depth and passion and meaning.
Sharing this moment, receiving this gift, this teaching, with my husband by my side
Communion, the meal God gives for us to share in Celebration

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-hope on the radio – carry on (live 105) and – this is only a mountain
-sandcastle clouds
-omelettes after a long absence
-answering a call – leading a discovery study around our Sunday brunch table
– conversation around the table –the likes of which I could only dream of (- that I never would have dreamed could really happen! )
-books spread open before us on the table – 3 bibles all with different translations and an oxford dictionary– clear evidence of a successful family discussion!
-driving home into the sun
– joy, and hope wild with possibility – God only needs the smallest of openings to work!
-the joy of proclaiming His gospel – ‘Go, tell it, on the mountain if you have to’
-the sun glowing off the puddles on ice

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-the boys ‘playing’ portal with daddy
-dh engaging with me in light hearted discussion on the topic of jesus (wedding miracle)
-a phone call w my best friend to share it all with her
– an old friend’s fb message –an old connection with new possibilities
-encouragement and love from a fellow CCO er and friend of my brother’s
-kneeling by the kids bed saying prayers together in the dark with my oldest
-baby playing video games
-baby dinosaur growls in the dark

Mon Jan 21
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3 boys on the couch having their own school time with various learning toys
Being momentarily without my daily mass readings booklet, teaching the boys how to look things up in the bible
A lesson on left and right
From a distance, catching the boys talking through my portable shower hose
2 very silly clowns
Baby with his first banana still in the peel
An opportunity to proclaim the truth, where it is greatly needed

Tues Jan 22
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Soft fur and an open hand empty to fill: Praying this morning and feeling soft fur as baby placed a bear in my open hand
One on one story time with the baby while everyone else was sleeping.
Baby bear piggy back
A world of snow out the window

A jammie day (T)
Snow and daylight (J)
Our crocodile game – (kids) – baby is a crocodile so they run away form him – they all loved it
Possible opportunity to reach out – Once you’re willing to go and lead others, God will send them to you

Wed Jan 23
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Frosty handprints on the window
Morning sun and shadow long across the snow
baby on his mantle seat reading his book

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That we are going somewhere tomorrow (T)
My little brown bear and coon coon (J)
Sunshine (J)
3 at the table for school
3 kids with straws
little brown bear with a helmet on a tractor
story time and a lesson on exclamation marks

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His little head sound asleep on my shoulder, minutes after I had picked him up
Out of the blue, a moment caught up in the Spirit as I said grace before supper.
Baby looking with wonder inside the dryer
Sleepy santa

Thurs Jan 24
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Watching baby walk around the sanctuary(?) with rapt attention during the consecration (he really is drawn to it, it’s beautiful to watch, what a gift!)
the kids with sphero
watching her little baby wiggle when shown a picture of herself

3d glasses and dreamworks
A Pink daisy sleeper and spiky hair
baby way up the ladder
Abominable baby walking around outside in his snowsuit

Coming together again around the circle with many of our parish faith study ladies
Helping to share more of God’s truths with others
God speaking through someone else’s words, but directly to me

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I thought I’d do something a little different this week. It’s a combination of having a cold, not having a lot of different things to write about, having posted hardly any gifts since December and not having a lot of mental energy to produce a neat finished post (when there are still 3 or 4 weekly posts in the works). So, I have decided to post a selection of this week’s gifts, (which do help encapsualte some of what we’ve been up to anyway.)

1. Friday

PICTURE
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The little one, stretching and squealing with delight while banging on the door.
Confidently teaching my kids about the trinity and the Holy Spirit – and them actually learning something!
Fallen leaves caught by the railing.
Baby perched in daddy’s lap, being entertained with a monkey.

2. Saturday
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Feeling the sun come out as I lifted praise to the Lord.
The backseat loaded with 2 babies.
The blessing of sharing a deep wound in my heart, my best friend’s validation and understanding, and her words of wisdom.
My best friend and I sitting in my car together, nursing our babies

Morning glory burst open – splendor on a wall.
Fluffy feather tufts dancing in the wind.
A garden porch in autumn.
The childlike wonder at discovering ever more unseen paths.
My little one exploring the garden for himself.

Spending the afternoon with my best friend and her baby.
The gift of TIME with her.
HS, to guide our conversation and Grace to let go of control and accept the many situations that came.
Sharing our dreams and our lives all the way home.

3. Sunday
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Personal conviction. My friend’s words still echoed next morning, ‘You have to understand you are going to lose friends over your faith. So, you have to decide for yourself, that what you have is worth that.’ This is the path I’ve chosen, I choose. (faith, Jesus, obedience, lay down my life, God’s heart ) It’s time for me to take it more seriously, to grab it by the horns so to speak – It’s time for me to OWN this decision! (thank you hon!)

Branches bare, stretched to the heavens.
That moment when I ‘couldn’t help but open my hands to the heavens’.

My children literally running circles around me before communion.
A perfect fall brunch: fish cakes with quince and ginger chutney.
Grace to establish, bit by bit, life-giving habits.
Fall decor – our lent crosses against a background of vibrant leaves.
My kids going to work on a Sunday.
Rest, family and Extreme Mountain Biking; Hanging out with DH on the couch to watch the Red Bull Rampage.

4. Monday
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A sunny perfect thanksgiving with fall colors all around.
Daddy and his boys watching 4 yr old shredder – a video of a little boy and his dad downhill riding.
Holy gratitude in the hearts of my friends.

5. Tuesday
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This cold, You birthing grace, grace that is very much needed for this journey, graces won and stored up for my loved ones.
My oldest looking very holy in a blankie head scarf.
Worship in the midst of the family living room.

6. Wednesday
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Grace in a morsel of bread; the Lord’s gift of Himself right when I need it (my help comes from the Lord).
Clicking rosary beads in the adoration chapel.
Waves of Your presence washing over me, here before the blessed sacrament.

7. Thursday
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Bare branches against pale grey blue winter sky.
Waking to the glory above me; watching God paint clouds and color across the sky.
The light of God spreading to the whole sky.
Falling often committing little sins; I’m too busy fighting them to get caught up in the big ones.
Gaps in the clouds, windows into the heavens: The clouds seek to obscure your glory, but its still there.

Morning rosary cuddles.
A clean house, and the help to make time and have the motivation to do it.
Leading discovery and all the people that came out for the first night.
Witnessing people begin to discover how much God loves them.
Marveling at how God is using me! As an Aaron to a Moses! Me, who could never speak to groups or crowds, until CC and the Holy Spirit stepped in.
A surprising name-dropping of the Almighty in conversation by DH.

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It seems I don’t have much to write about this week, at least not enough unique subjects to fill 7 takes so I will have to resort to internet links.

1. I knew this week would probably be hard, after the spiritual growth and closeness of the retreat weekend I knew the enemy would be unhappy and would probably go after me. The biggest thing is I have spent the entire week feeling tired, probably due to staying up later on the weekend, and when I’m tired EVERYTHING is so much harder. I am really trying to surrender my will to God in all things, to let Him capture it and own it… and I’m sure that is the other side of this, God is allowing it as a test to make sure my commitment etc, my desire is genuine, aka, even when I don’t feel I’m getting much in return.

2. The house is still a struggle – another month has passed and the kids’ room is STILL the only room that stays tidy and organized. I think if I worked at it I could get the bathroom and probably the kitchen into that shape as well, and that would be really great. Seeing the long weekend coming up, I am hoping to seriously tackle some more of this house because there are spots that are still driving me crazy.

3. Faith Notes – The retreat was GREAT. Usually, when I go to a retreat I have drifted some with daily life and it is a chance for me to reconnect with God and what I know is really important. But this time the truth is I was already close to the Lord when I went, which gave me the opportunity to really nurture and grow closer to Him throughout the weekend and I experienced a beautiful intimacy with God. That said, Fr Clair is a wise and wonderful speaker and there are many fascinating things that stuck out from the talks, as well as other moments of new understanding and growth. As a rather seasoned retreat participant, I always have something new to learn 🙂 .

One of the big things that stood out to me from the talks was the notion that ALL sin boils down to a failure to love. It has changed how I approach decisions about what the ‘next right thing’ is, and has helped clarify a few grey area situations. When we fail to love we turn away from God in favor of our own interests and breaks the beautiful bond of intimacy that comes from bringing our wills in line with His. So, as part of my prayer to offer each task, I have added in a prayer for help to persevere in love so as to stay in union with the God.

The time at the retreat, coupled with how I’ve been experiencing God’s presence lately also helped solidfy my belief in all that is unseen around us, and that when doubts press in, I can and will CHOOSE to believe in that which right now seems hidden from me.

And the testimony went great. I have never been one for public speaking but I knew God was calling me to share my story and that as long as I spoke it from the heart, I would be able to get through it. Before I got to the retreat I had come to understand that it was entirely about God and not my own glory, and had let the desire for that go. I wanted only for people’s hearts to be touched, for God. I said a quick prayer before I went up and the Holy Spirit calmed my nerves and helped me to find my place quickly each time I lost it, before I had the chance to stumble.

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– Daily mass on wednesdays even when surrounded by 3 little children continues to nourish my soul. I was filled with such joy and awe this week at God for leading me to make this change and adopt this discipline:
* The simple joy of being here to receive You in the middle of the week.

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-I was reading more from A Mom’s Rule of Life about how order in your home and life can dispose you to contemplation and I long for that, but I realized this week that my mind is still far to preoccupied. I know that the decluttering is still unfinished in most of the rooms and the clutter is one of the things I feel preoccupied about. The other are my projects on the computer that are still unfinished: how far back I am in my photos, and in finishing up blog posts. The solution with the decluttering may be to catch up, but I feel I will probably have to lower my standards a little for what I need done, if I am to ever catch up (and stay caught up) I have built time for this into the schedule but since I still don’t have all the time slots established yet, it is still a challenge. I have to train myself to really look at it, especially just the next section so that I’m not forgetting any minor details.

4. I have a confession to make: The baby has actually been back in disposable diapers for the past couple weeks. I started to always be shrot on liners by doubling them for overnights and then I got sick and it was just easier to use disposables since I had to buy them – at least until I can get a few more ordered. After finally getting caught up on laundry I did finally get back to using the cloth yesterday, even though I am still waiting to be able to put in a new order (and then wait 2-3 weeks for delivery I expect).

5. This week I finally got the chance to go through the cars photos with the kids. I’ve taken pictures of most of their little CARS cars at one point or another, so I thought it would be neat to make a photo album with the pictures for them to look through. I decided I’d have them help me choose which pictures to include, and even help take a few more that we didn’t have yet. They did show more interest in photos of their beloved toys, but they still had a finite attention span for the process.

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6. Something interesting I noticed recently, nowadays I seem to only use my camera if I’m recording one of those gift moments – I guess everything else except school lesson demos I tend not to bother with ; either that or I just see more gifts now. Either way it is definitely affecting my photography.

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The Moment, opening my eyes at the end of my prayer during adoration, to find a yellow handy manny screwdriver being thrust in my face (held by my son)

7. Number seven: because I have nothing else, and my readers might just be interested in being just 10 minutes away from eating warm cookies made from scratch, I present to you: 10 Minute Cookies-Honey Snaps

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For several weeks now I have been attending Courageous Catholic, a program CCO is putting on for Impact, all about sharing our faith and passing it on to others. Sharing my faith, and sharing God with the people around me is one of the deepest desires of my heart, but I’ve struggled from the lack of the tools to do it. A lot of this is probably due to my own relatively recent conversion, somewhat shallow understanding and complete ignorance at how to properly articulate the truths of the faith. As a result, I have really lacked confidence in this area, despite having the charisms of both Faith and Evangelism. Through the Courageous Catholic program, I have been learning so much about how to engage others in discussions on faith effectively! I have a better understanding of what not to say, and what people might actually want to hear. And I have discovered that when you approach a faith discussion in the right way, people are surprisingly open to talk about it.

This also caused me to pause and reflect on why it has always felt so different discussing faith with my best friend, than with my husband. I know that a big part of it is that my best friend is open, while my husband is not, and I’m sure that affects my attitude towards the discussion, but I realized there is another issue at play, and it’s pride. My pride. With my best friend I see her side and I understand and I try not to push as I speak truth. But it has never been that way with DH. My pride always gets in the way. I realized that in discussion, I held this idea that he had to agree with me on x (I need him to and he should) just because he’s my husband. That is a very worldly attitude and very unloving. It is so contrary to what God wants for us. No one has ever been won over to God by an argument! I have come to realize that it’s ok for my husband not to believe what I do. For the time being, it is something that I have to accept, and as I’ve been delving deeper into humility, I have largely come to terms with it.

-Talk about a change that he IS going to start noticing!!! (up till now my best friend has been the only non-faith person to notice a definite change in me.)

The most amazing thing, was the difference with DH when we got into theological discussion on tues evening! Ususally I felt so awkward to share my faith – even with the person that should and does know me the best, I tended to hide it from him because of how he didn’t share it – which of course wasn’t helpful.. but since I started to be able to see a real possible future for my husband with God – well, I think that changed! For the first time, I wasn’t fighting him on everything, but more than that, because I can see a future for him now with God, I don’t feel awkward living my faith in front of him anymore or sharing it with him. I also feel like I do know him better now, and that he knows me and truly accepts me on a deep level, now that we’ve passed 5 years of marriage. I felt as comfortable as if it were my best friend, who is actually open to the possibility of God.

Mary’s words, ‘do whatever he tells you’ also came to me with new meaning: this is what God is saying to me regarding my husband! All wives are called to submit to their husbands. I’ve heard a lot about it through Focus on the Family, such that I actually understand it now. It doesn’t mean to be a doormat, but to defer final authority in all matters, unless something goes against God and His Lordship. Now every time I pray the line about respecting my husband I am feeling called more and more to submit to him, to biblically submit (so in this day and age, radical submission) simply because he is my husband. That means I have to accept when he says ‘no’ but it’s a lot more than that as well. This is what God has impressed on me most recently:

‘Until your husband sees you, visibly different, (like my best friend saw the change) truly submitting to him, he’s not going to believe.’ That’s what it will take for him to come on board etc, radical humility. ‘Only when you are willing to lay down your will, will he be able to know Me.’

Oof!

And yet what a blessing! If I had been further along in my faith, my husband would not have been in my life to observe the radical changes that take place! As it is, he is there right beside me to watch the incredible transformation that only God could orchestrate.

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June 1

This has been a week with a couple blog posts, other weeks there’s a dearth and I’m lucky if I get this one up. I think I’m going to try to work on posts when I have the time, but save finished posts for when it’s been a few days etc, so I still have something to put up. Especially if the post is already chronologically way late anyway 😛

1. The routine is still hit or miss. Typically the pattern is I have a really good day where I’m mostly away from the computer and on schedule, and then when I have some computer time the kids get into trouble and I end up frustrated, and then the next day I feel I can spend a bit more time on the pc to make up for it. I do love praying my new morning prayer out on the deck though! The kids have been sleeping in this week 😮 but if they don’t then I just give them some cheerios and a drink, and then go out to pray. The one time they stay out of trouble is if they’re at the table eating!

2. Faith Notes
– Morning Prayer/Reflection: I remember when I was younger I always felt like I was special, like I was set apart from the rest of the world, like the main character in a movie. Now I realize where that came from: God had a clear calling on my heart. Long before I knew what it was, I felt the whisper of God’s love on my life.

We are all the main character in God’s movie.

Then later reading spiritual combat: ‘We like to see ourselves as important’ – Yes, but this feeling didn’t come from me… I like to think of myself as important but this was different. – it came from ‘out there’ from somewhere outside of me.

-CCO is here for impact this summer. That in itself is pretty exciting, but since I’ve already taken ownership of my faith and gone through the first two faith studies, I didn’t think there’s be a whole lot to enrich my faith, but then I discovered the Courageous Catholic program. While the impacters lead faith studies, the staff team leads more mature Catholics in a program on mission and evangelization. There people of all ages at the tables, which makes discussion very interesting. I feel that pull on my heart for other souls, what better way to feed that desire than to be equipped to do something about it? It’s exciting and challenging, and I only missed two weeks… One session and I was hooked, I will be going back!

CC Lesson 3:
-Holiness and Mission are 2 sides to the same coin. They compliment each other, as one grows, the other follows. Both are key to our spiritual life, our relationship with God. We should put the same care, resources and attention into out missionary life as we do into attaining holiness.

-“In the spiritual realm, to, no one lives for himself alone. And salutary concern fro the salvation of one’s own soul is freed from fear and selfishness only when it becomes concerned for the salvation of others as well. This is the reality of the communion of saints, the mystery of ‘vicarious life’ of prayer, as the means of union with Christ and his saints.” Incarnationis Mysterium

-The danger in mission is we can get so busy doing, that we miss the relationship. My ways, my thinking interferes with what God wants to do. (like when you over think what you’re going to say too much…)

-Everyone’s relationship with God is so different, so personal, that children CAN’T latch onto their parent’s faith, because it is not their own.

-If anyone so much as glances at the Lord (monstrance) He’s got them.

-There are barriers to other people’s faith when we try too hard: the worst thing we can do is open our mouth and have it not be the Holy Spirit speaking

-Sometimes the worst sinners make the best witnesses. When you’re an army general, and you’ve been in the trenches and looked evil in the eye, no one can say ‘ you don’t know’.

-Faith w/o question is not faith. It’s blind obedience. How do we know it’s not just a bunch of lies? Lies fall under their own weight, truth survives. The truth of God’s word has survived for centuries. Also, would the martyrs die for a book of lies?

-To reach the world one person at a time, we need to pass on the message AND the mission. If we don’t pass on the mission as well, then there are people who will not hear the message. But we have to equip them, we can’t just tell them to go and share the faith without helping them to do it!

-I had a beautiful Pentecost. At Mass before communion I had a real sense of God pouring His very Life into us through the Eucharist. I understood again that this is what He does, for all of us, and also personally. As I was trying just a little harder to live led by the spirit and to live how God wanted me to, (extra patence and love etc) I chose to remain calm when one of my children followed me up, and when they wanted to see Mary I felt such a request should always be granted – though when my big kid came running over after the priest didn’t seem too impressed. But still, as soon as I received Jesus, I felt a deep increase of patience, that I had the grace to do much better what I had been trying to start doing for a few days. It was just neat.

As I drove to my mom’s while listening to the Rosary CD: ‘She would treasure in her heart, as she had always done, the things that God had done for her, and for all of us her children.’ As Father Groeschel said those last words, I had an image of a great big cross in the patch of sky that lay open before me, watching over us. It’s there, this life, this hope, for all of us here on earth, who choose to see it. I wanted to take a photo but I was driving, but another time I will. I hope I never see big open spaces like that driving on the highway the same way again.
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Then, still being led by the spirit, at my Mom’s mention I ended up washing a number of her dishes. (only my oldest kid was awake at the time.) As I washed and she prepared lunch we discussed a couple of the faith questions I’d been meaning to ask, and we had a very nice conversation.

-There was also a fun Focus on the Family Broadcast on Surviving Summer Vacation:

*Start by letting your kids have a few days to decompress. Then, draft and explain some summer house rules: curfew, bedtime, what friends can come over, where they can go etc… Then do some brainstorming and involve your children, what are some things you want to learn? ( Sports, hobbies, etc )Plan to help them get what they need, help them practice, even do related field trips.

*Expect them to do some more chores than during school year, and summer is a good time to teach them important life skills like doing laundry and paying bills. This is doing them a real favor, because they will need to know this stuff when they leave home!

*Have a Summer hit list: places and things to see. Think about some fun fieldtrips! (beach, parks, museums, tours…)

It’s a time when you can really influence your children since you’re around them more,. If you’re intentional, you can be teaching and growing your kids physically, spiritually, intellectually…. Don’t let the days devolve into ‘sleep in as late as you want’. Have a schedule where everyone sleeps in a bit but gets up at a reasonable time, 7:30, 8am. And don’t sit around in front of a screen all day – get out there!!!

Other ideas:
Have a scheduled quiet/reading time for everyone
Have a reading contest to motivate them to read… 2000 pts for this book… 10 000 for reading the gospels etc – have rewards (at the end of the week we’ll go: for icecream, to the beach, to an amusement park (depending on the total points)
Other ideas: Museum scavenger hunt, Nighttime animal safari!, Go to a state park and cook foil dinners – start traditions!
Same with the car trips: Car contests-scavenger hunt, bingo etc… have little prizes in the glove box.

3. Boo! Unprotected Sects – When it comes to computer viruses, you’re now more likely to catch one visiting a church website than surfing for porn.

4. BBQ for the Win! I love summer when we can just throw a quick meal on the Barbeque! We’ve been making suppers om the barbecue a lot lately, Yum 🙂
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5. The full site for the worldwide photo project won’t be up till June, but they’ve posted up 100 photos and also 100 profiles for people to browse through. There’s some pretty neat stuff there 🙂 I especially like this one:

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The tailor takes the measures of new summer uniform for a swiss guard in vatican city

Check them out here: http://www.aday.org/#100-photos

6— I am POSITIVE I wrote about these photography basics for kids activities, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on the blog… Since my kids have a mom who’s in love with photography, these ideas would be great to help teach them and have fun. Hey, I probably could teach DH a thing or two as well!

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This is another article about teaching kids to take good photos, but the ideas are more aimed at older kids: Teaching Your Child How To Take Good Pictures

7–My son’s birthday party is in just over a week! We’re doing a CARS themed party, and I’ve got some good ideas, but nothing is made or wrapped and I still have a few more supplies to buy.

I’m going for something like this CARS party :
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Ugh, I am always so late getting these up. I’m consistently at the bottom of the list-if I make it in at all. This week it doesn’t help that one or more of us have been sick since last thursday. Of course the ideal solution would to write pre-emptively, and have it done by Thursday, but the reality is this almost never happens. I had this great idea to put in the link before the pot was finished so I could not be at the end, but it tests your url haha. So, now I’m trying to write this as fast as possible, when I probably should be doing other things…

NOTE: This isn’t quite done, but it’s close enough to post.

1. ‘God’s foolishness is greater than human wisdom’

On Sunday with the 2 big kids sick it was just me and the baby. As a result, I was able to listen and internalize without distractions.

Sunday’s Homily, I summarize:
Jesus in the temple – he makes a whip and drives the moneychangers out! It must have been quite a sight. Holy church-goers don’t get angry… It’s actually kind of scary. Think of Chronicles of Narnia – Aslan is the God figure. He’s a lion. He’s a good and just lion, but he’s not tame. There is an element of fear… Like going into a nuclear power plant, everything looks safe but you know on the other side of that wall there is enough power to melt Nova Scotia.

“Contingency –looking out at the leaf on the tree in the front yard. There has to be a First cause – there has to be an unmoved mover.

‘I’m cute, but I’m compost. When I say a mass, it seems like a pretty little thing. I just do it, but it doesn’t seem of great significance. Now think about all the companions of the cross together in one room. Think about all the masses, baptisms eucharists etc they’ve ever performed all at once. Wow. Think about the transfiguration. It was like a crack of lightning! A peal of thunder! God contained in a human body. Jesus is God, all at once.

Church offertory-it’s not like applying for a mortgage, in Africa etc, each person brings something to give, and they dance with it as they bring it up to the altar. The offertory takes a long time! Imagine if we did that.

We just had our first taste of spring. You can feel it. As I looked out at the water etc, I felt passion. You know what for? Sailing. I love to be on the water. I saw the clear skies and the open water and I felt that pull. I feel it deep in my soul. AGGGHHHHH. He grunted like a caveman. It’s there inside me, just waiting to escape. This is how I approach sailing. Is that how we approach the eucharist? Prayer? Bible reading? That pull, that aghhhh! that’s what Christ feels for us, passion! Look at the cross! “

Wow. All of a sudden, I see the cross in a whole new light! I used to see it as the ultimate humility, complete weakness and submission, sort of, ‘yes my lord’ of a servant. Now, I see power. I see passion, and a fierce choice to Love. More than just accepting the cross, Jesus willfully CHOOSES it, out of love for us.

And I remember, that God loves us, so much more than we think, so much more than we know!

This got me thinking about what I am passionate about. I love photography, but I’m not sure I’d call myself passionate about it. I do have that passion to capture a moment or a feeling, and also to share my gift to bless my family and friends, so maybe I am. But the things that make me really feel a pull in my soul and make me feel so alive are being out in nature, usually the woods or by the sea, and my faith. I truly am passionate about it and about sharing it! I actually go out of my way to take hold of any opportunities to share my faith with others. When CCO had mission week in January, I asked Nanny to babysit and loaded all 3 kids up by myself to take them to her house, just so I could be on the front lines reaching out to students. I so want others, especially those closest to me to share what I have found in Christianity.

Father said ‘what if we had that same passion, every time we received the Eucharist? Every time we read our bible? etc.” I actually think I do. Sure there are times when it’s a struggle and I don’t feel like praying or reading my bible, but when I look at what is most important to me, God has my heart. Every time there is a faith-related event, a chance to learn and grow, I make it a priority to be there if possible. It doesn’t matter what else I might have done, I actually missed a party to go to adoration once. Granted, the party invite came second, but still. I’m that passionate about spending time with the Lord! He’s worth it. (Note I don’t go to all the available faith events because I’d be out 2 nights a week or more every week and that wouldn’t be fair to my family).

And of course, I’m also passionate about standing for life.

-I don’t know how I missed this Conversion Diary post before, but it was really helpful because I really struggle with the desire to evangelize everyone around me. I truly have a missionary heart, but sometimes that deep longing can get in the way.

“An analogy I often think of for how I used to handle pitching my newfound religion is that it was like I was describing the sun to someone who’d never seen it – while blocking out all the light and casting a shadow on them. ”

“When spending time with friends or family who don’t share my religious beliefs, I remind myself that nobody was ever converted by being chastised about how wrong they are. The first thing I need to do is shut up and pray. I have the grand Creator of the universe on my side, who desperately wants all souls to know him, and he probably has a better plan for how to get his message across than I do. The question, as I’ve come to see it, is not, ‘How can I show this person the error of her ways?’, but rather, “How can I focus more on the error of my ways, to conform myself more perfectly to the image of Christ? How can I do a better job of pushing my ego aside to allow people to see Christ through me?”

As I struggle with the ache for others to experience what I have, it’s helpful to know that it’s not all up to me and in fact it really is as simple as just striving for holiness in my own life.

-The penitential nature, stations, no seasoning, working to embrace my cross-it’s all bringing me such joy, and it’s not even EASTER!!!! Also, God has been stirring up lots of dust in my life and the changes are incredible!

2. GASP, We’re finally going to talk about it 😀 Canadian Parliament Will Engage in Rare Abortion Debate

3. I don’t know if this has been all over the news or not, but it’s pretty cool: A Chinese high school student might have the cure for cancer!
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4. On Sunday CCO had a ladies night and clothing exchange. We all went through our closets and gathered up the clothes/shoes/accessories we didn’t wear and brought them along. We laid everything out all over the Newman Centre and then we all went shopping! It was SO MUCH FUN.

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There was such a spirit of sisterhood; everyone was so encouraging, ‘that looks great on you!’ They were also realistic though, if something didn’t work, they told you. It was very helpful. There was also a lot of ‘this didn’t fit me, but it would look great on you’. And it would. It reminded me of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. It was almost magic how most of the clothes fit all of us and how something that had never worked on me looked great on someone else.

Every time someone found something really great (or really funny) we’d model it for the others.

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I picked up 5 pairs of pants (all of which fit my body NOW!), 2 dresses and a ton of shirts (all of which will let me nurse!). It’s nice to be able to throw some new pieces into my wardrobe.

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It really didn’t help me pare down my wardrobe though, I brought a green bag full to give away, but I brought home twice as much!

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5. On Saturday we sprang forward for Daylight Savings Time. Even though I have to lose an hour of sleep that night, I am so FOR this time change. The kids have been waking up far too early in my opinion, when they used to sleep in till 7:30 or 8 and that was great, especially with the baby still getting me up in the night. Since they’re used to getting up an hour later than the new time, and since the sun will be coming up an hour later, it should help them sleep in! Also, I love when it starts to be light for longer in the evening. It always seems depressing when the sun goes down before we even eat supper. I think it actually gives me more energy when it’s light later, because as soon as I see it start to get dark my brain starts winding down for bed.

Update: AND the next morning I had almsot an hour of peace and quiet to wake up with the baby, to pray and even to read a bit!

6. This week we watched the Lion King.
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This is another childhood favorite and I was pleased to see that I still knew all the songs! I don’t think it was my first movie in theatres ever, but it was the first one my mom took me to. The kids really liked it too, it’s a good story with great music. It’s just uplifting. There is something beautiful and transcendent about the Circle of Life opening and how they lift up the baby lion. There’s lots of good character messages in it too.

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I made lion face pizzas which sort of worked. And of course because of the baby, I had mine without cheese. It is just not the same.
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Rawr
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Also, I realized after the post last week that my 2 year old’s love languages are pretty much the same as mine. I can’t decide for sure whether one is moreso than the other for myself or for him. We both seem to respond to physical touch AND quality time. He is like me in so many ways so the fact that he shares this too is really interesting. It makes me wonder if love languages really are genetic, and not just a product of our environments.

7. The Back to Life movement kicks off tonight in Houston. I’m soo excited about this event! 39 women, 1 for each year of legal abortion since Roe v Wade, will be walking from one of the largest Planned Parenthood clinics to the courthouse in Dallas where it all began. Here’s an article that explains a bit more about Back to Life: http://www.citizenlink.com/2011/12/26/walking-out-their-faith/

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I wish I could be more a part of it but I can’t wait to follow their journey!

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