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Archive for the ‘Retreats’ Category

Feb 20

A few months ago I recieved an invitation to a SUM conference in April. It was to be held in the southern US and that is a long way to travel for a Canadian, so I smiled at the thought and then it settled to the back of my mind.

Well, it didn’t stay there. As the Holy Spirit so often does when we don’t respond to His leading the first time, the idea resurfaced and has stuck with me. After reading a post in which God spoke to Lynn about someday having to step down from her ministry – and maybe soon – it did highlight a sense of urgency with this particular conference. I have longed to meet Lynn ever since I found in her such a kindred spirit and before the announcement of the conference my best inspiration was that if we took the boys to Cars Land in the next couple years then while we were in California I could meet up with her since that’s where she lives, but it was really only a pipe dream.

Then last night I did a bit more thinking and discerning about the conference. It started after I woke up from a strange (as in how did that get there) dream about tornados – little ones that would spring up out of nowhere… and winds that were so strong you had to bunker down. Like every 5 minutes :S

Besides the whole I’ve never done this before, flying by myself is nerve racking because what if I miss/get the wrong plane! There is a certain amount of fear associated with traveling all alone, with an infant, to a state down south where I’ve never been. Strange city, young woman all alone… you know.

Fear… what was I just reading about fear the other day? Fear: A catalyst for growth, a chance to really put my trust in God. This would certainly be an opportunity to do plenty of that!

If the main reason I don’t think I will go is fear, then I think I have my answer, but still, how do I know if God really wants me to go? – yes it could be a once in a life-time opportunity., I know I will learn from the conference itself and the whole experience like I always do, and I long to meet Lynn in person and feel called to go to meet some OTHER community members. If I was only going for the talks then yes it would be incredibly selfish to take off far away for a few days and pay that kind of money for such a short conference – but it’s so much more than that – meeting Lynn, and Dineen, and establishing a personal community, a major adventure with really only God as my guide and a definite opportunity to grow leaps and bounds in my faith and my marriage.

DH was concerned about the money and asked if it would be web cast etc… but otherwise he seemed ok with it. He didn’t seem to think it that crazy of me to want to head to the southern united states all of a sudden for a 2-3 day whirwind trip. Huh. Of course there is still the money, but I can work something out, if God wants me to go, afterall, I didn’t have all the money for Rise Up either, and it was still a very worthwhile experience.

Also, I always find it easier to make a concrete change when I’m at a conference. I mean, when I just resolve 1 day to make a change, it usually doesn’t stick, it’s when the resolve is coupled with an EXPERIENCE that I find myself truly changing on a deeper level.

Sometimes God asks you to do some crazy things. And, if I’m honest in the pursuit of holiness in all my decisions, then this is actually a pretty easy one. These words from a book I’ve been reading came to mind:

“The saints simply asked themselves, “What is God’s will for this moment” If they concluded that something would help them draw nearer to God and the best version of themselves God desired them to be, then they embraced it.

When I think about whether this trip would help make me the best version of myself, I know it would force me to rely on God in a big way, it would teach me more about the world and people far away that I could share God’s heart for them, it would be a fulfillment of a dream and it would help me grow in my marriage as well. There is no doubt about that one, so even though it’s expensive, I just might go. I even prayerfully had the idea that when I go to buy my ticket at the airport we can check out the plane museum as a family. (Update, DH thought it would be crazy to go to the airport to book a flight :S)

Overall my best friend ( my outside voice of reason and wisdom) was really supportive and excited for me. She said – I think it’s a great opportunity and you should go for it, but I also think there will be huge obstacles’, which is true, but nice to know she doesn’t think I’m crazy for wanting to go! Turns out my spiritual director thought it was not unreasonable either. 🙂

It still doesn’t feel real yet, but I have great peace and I’m starting to see the pieces coming together bit by bit.

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Jan 20

1. Yes, you read the title correctly, I’m pretty sure the new baby has colic. It’s affecting his nursing and his sleep, espeically at night. Nursing he will pull off early making a mess and often he won’t sleep more than 5 or 10 minutes if I lay him down. Sitting up, he does better. It was getting pretty bad, Mummy really can’t deal with crying every NIGHT for too lnog without beginning to go crazy. DMIL suggested he had colic, and I was starting to suspect he had it to some degree already. So we bought some gripe water. It seems to be hit or miss, but when it’s works it WORKS. There have been several nights with no crying and a 5 hr stretch of sleep. If only I could train myself EACH TIME to change him and feed both sides so he has a full tummy, I’d probably have more down time.

2. This week we packed up the Christmas tree (so it’s not going to still be there in February!) I was less sad to see it go because it wasn’t that decorated this year and also because I know it bugs DH to have it on all the time, since it eats up a lot of power. That, and I still have my *winter* archway 🙂 We put the playpen it it’s place as a safe space for the baby. I just found out it has a bassinet attachment! I had no idea, but always thought those things were really neat. So it’s baby’s little space (except the big kids like to try to play in there and with his toys 🙄 )

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3. On Sunday we finally had our family Christmas party. Usually we have it before New Years, when it’s still the Christmas season but I guess everyone was just busier this year. It was a nice afternoon of good food, better company and great photo ops 🙂

Food
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Family
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The secret is out!
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Presents
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Baby!
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More Babies!
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They had this incredible little dollhouse made out of a little bookshelf. How cute is this?
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4. I realized something that really bugs me if I try to take a picture of my kid with an object in front of them (like a cake). I have a habit of always focusing on the cake, but it would be a much better photo if I always focused on the kid, even if it looks strange with the cake out of focus. I have to remember that as a photographer, I don’t always have to focus on the closets thing!

Note to self, focus on the kid, not the cake.
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5. I really do like my slow cooker, now that I’m using it more. I finally filled it up with water to test how big it is, I have a 3.5 quart. Looking at it I always thought it was one of the bigger ones, so probably 5 or 6 quarts, but for a slow cooker it’s actually on the small side!

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This week I broke it out for another new recipe: bbq chicken and cornbread. Sounded excellent, what a great combination and both things that I know DH will eat, so I made it.
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I would agree the cornbread needed work, it wasn’t as light or as sweet as both of us like, but while I was still content to eat it, DH was less than thrilled. Sigh. He can be so hard to cook for. I really need to find more easy, complete-meal slow cooker recipes that he will eat. I love my slow cooker, it frees me up for other things like tending the baby, blogging, facebook and cleaning up potty accidents.

I already thought this blog was awesome (it’s provided the slow-cooker recipes) then I found this : How to Company Clean in 30 minutes or Less. Makes me feel a little less crazy to know I’m not the only one who goes through the house with a laundry basket sometimes.

6. Our 3 year old is basically potty trained, even at night! He wakes up dry in the morning and will even get up and take himself to the bathroom in the dark of night if he needs to go!
However, my 2 year old is not. He was doing great till shortly before the baby came, when I stopped nursing him in my bed etc… Then he spent a week in diapers at Nanny’s when the baby was born. I resolved to get that ground back as soon as we were home again, and I’ve got him going to the potty SOMETIMES. I’m not sure if he really forgets etc or if he just doesn’t care, because he still has a fair number of accidents, enough that he goes back in diapers for the rest of that day… *mental screams of anguish!*

7. This weekend I’m heading off to another CCO retrerat. It’s early this year (it’s usually closer to spring) but we’ll be alright, the cabins are heated. Obvisouly I will be taking the littlest one with me, and hopefully there will be lots of people wanting to hold him so I can take notes! The speaker is none other than one of our beloved parish priests from my old church (before they took the Companions away). Should be a good weekend, the Lord knows I can certainy use a Mommy break to rest and recharge!
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This retreat was a great experience for me. Not only was it such a blessing to have a break away with just the baby, but I also heard some great talks, got to spend some quiet time in my head and really think about everything and even got to have some fun too. It was also perfect timing (and I wondered why the retreat had to be so early this year!) as I had just stumbled onto the Hello Mornings Challenge which strengthened my resolve to make some changes. What better time to make big life changes than right after a quiet weekend away on retreat?!

We drove in a major snowstorm to get there…
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…which then turned to rain and froze overnight.
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There were lots of people to hold the baby…
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…which meant had my hands free to play dutch blitz! (similar to double solitaire, a childhood favorite).
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The first night I was paired up with another girl who I didn’t know but both of us had played this type of game before and so we were very good at it. We made a great team and kept on winning. It was so much fun!
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Playtime!
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Snapshots:
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And of course, there was Father Allan, in fine form as always:

‘I’m amazed at the multi-tasking, she’s holding the baby with one hand and taking pictures of me with the other!
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‘God’s not finished yet. The retreat’s not over until everyone gets to hold the baby!’
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Point taken, Father!
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Interestingly, I had heard a lot of what Fr Allan said before, at the lenten mission, but this time I heard it with fresh ears. (It is said that you need to hear something 7 times before you hear everything.)

Some of the biggest things I took away and want to apply to my daily life I wrote at the top of my routine, in the hope that I will read them over every morning and be reminded to apply them to my day:

Whatever happens today, Life is not an Emergency!
(these words have been pressing on my heart ever since I read them in 1000 gifts and I keep forgetting this, so it went at the top of the list!)

Will you serve Me today? Will you die to yourself, for Me?
When I’m with the Lord I always resolve to serve Him but when I’m back home with the daily struggles of raising little ones it all comes undone. I am tired or just lazy, and I don’t do things I know he wants me to. At this retreat I deepened my resolve and renewed that commitment with the intent of making it happen. When I don’t feel like it, I need only remind myself that this is what it is to serve God, and then hopefully I’ll be able to smarten up and do it!

Then(if yes): ‘Do the Next Right Thing.
This is the duty of the moment. If we follow this simple rule we will always walk with the Lord because we will always be doing God’s will.

Do your duty with a smile, plan to face each of these tasks etc WITH God and FOR God.
Since all the things I face as a mom of 3 little boys are God’s will for me that day, then every little thing I do I do for Him. When I remember that I’m serving God it gives even little tasks great purpose: I am taking care of His children.

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Lord,
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
The wisdom to know the difference,
And the grace to embrace my cross today.

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It’s been so long since I got a post up on time…

1. I got pretty upset with my little son the other day when I found he had pulled some of the green tomatoes off my cherry tomato plant. Not one fruit is even showing the smallest sign of ripening and as long as that’s the case, if they are picked then they are wasted, and that is a very sad thing 😦 . I had just finished telling him to leave it alone and gone back inside for a minute or two, to bring out their snack, when I found him with 3 in his hand. There are probably more in the garden as well. (with several other toys etc that will appear when the plants die off for winter..) Just looking at the empty branches where they used to be I wanted to cry, wait scratch that, I’m pregnant and hormonal, I did cry.

I put him in his room for time out and decided not to give him his piece of the snack/treat I had brought out. Even after I got him back out again, I knew I was still holding a grudge. I also knew that this was wrong and I didn’t want to feel that way, and then I watched him playing with the flowers with his brother in the living room etc, and (thinking about mercy and finding Jesus all the time etc) in a moment of grace etc, I remembered he’s my little boy! He’s infinitely more precious than those tomatoes, even if that was really naughty since I’d just finished telling him not to touch them. And I was able to completely forgive him (but I still haven’t let him run around the back yard without me since.)

I’m JUST learning how to actually show mercy to the people in my life… (hubby and esp kids).

2.
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The 40 days for life campaign kicked off on Tuesday evening with a beautiful interdenominational prayer service. I prayed at home 2 years ago, and last year did go pray in front of the hospital with my mom. This year with hubby working 5 days a week, I will be going alone (Mom’s keeping her Friday shift from last year) on the weekend in the morning, as part of my day off. I’m a little nervous about it, being quite pregnant and all but I am reminded that we are not meant to hide our light under a bushel. I also realized just how much of a witness I could be, very clearly pregnant, especially where I look so young. I will go Lord, send me.

3. I discovered this documentary on abortion through facebook. They interviewed many pro-choice people, who then changed their minds about abortion. It is indeed very interesting but I had to really watch it twice to be sure I wanted to post it up because it’s pretty controversial. I encourage everyone to watch it, it’s only 33 minutes long, but it has the potential to change your life.

4. This week we had pancakes and with the leftover batter I made some little kid sized ones. I thought they would look so cute in the toy frying pan, so I made a little pancake shoot.

When I finished with the frying pan I set the little table for breakfast and dished them up, and then I called the kids out to eat their breakfast at the table. I think it was a really cute thing to do 🙂

Cooking breakfast
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The table
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Enjoying their special breakfast
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I love how my toddler seems to be contemplating life over the rim of his ‘coffee’ cup.
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More juice!
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5. I saw this link on facebook, and had to share: Check out these amazing paper sculptures from a completely anonymous artist. They are absolutely beautiful.
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6. I’ve realized that I just might have starting nesting a little. I noticed this week I was sweeping/vaccuming my floors more than usual…

7. This weekend I am going away for CCO’s annual fall retreat. I’m really looking forward to a whole weekend with no cooking, no cleaning, no kids such that I can actually have some mental space to think my own thoughts… Not to mention hopefully some new spiritual growth.
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At the last retreat I left the ‘baby’ home and spent every free moment there typing up the notes/quotes from the book I borrowed from the Newman Centre so I could give it back to them. I finished, but just. This weekend, I’m hoping that time can translate to a few more finished blog posts… We’ll see how it goes!

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Hosanna

Hosanna – Paul Baloche

Praise is rising, eyes are turning to You, we look to You
Hope is stirring, hearts are yearning for You, we long for You

‘Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your Presence all our fears are washed away, washed away

CHORUS
Ho- san- na, ho- sanna
You are the God Who saves us, worthy of all our praises
Ho- san- na, ho- sanna
Come have Your way among us
We welcome You here, Lord Jesus

Hear the sound of hearts returning to You, we turn to You
In Your Kingdom broken lives are made new, You make us new

‘Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your Pres- ence all our fears are washed away, washed away

CHORUS
Ho- san- na, ho- sanna
You are the God Who saves us, worthy of all our praises
Ho- san- na, ho- sanna
Come have Your way among us
We welcome You here, Lord Jesus

‘Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your Pres- ence all our fears are washed away
‘Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your Pres- ence all our fears are washed away, washed away

CHORUS
Ho- san- na, ho- sanna
You are the God Who saves us, worthy of all our praises
Ho- san- na, ho- sanna
Come have Your way among us
We welcome You here, Lord Jesus
(Repeat)
Ho- san- na, ho- san- na
Ho- san- na, ho- san- na

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Mar 18

1. Faith Notes

-‘How can I further your kingdom when I’m so wrapped up in mine?’ – they’re lyrics from a song but they are compelling words.

-Notes from ash wed mass – “Yet even now,” says the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.

Lent is a time for purification, to break open our hearts and let God work. This process is not always fun, but it is the way to a deeper relationship etc. Everything that breaks our heart, we present it to God.

Fasting takes the focus off us and drives us to God, to fill the emptiness.

-Reading the book He leadeth me increased my trust in God before, so hopefully it will again. I have not gotten very far, life has been strangely busy, but just the first chapter alone is enough for spiritual renewal, it’s jam packed with Godly advice. Next time I need some to regain perspective I have only to read those 8 or 10 pages.

-“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”

-Faith-it’s not believing in something, it’s a relationship with a person. It’s not really faith anymore, or even choosing to believe: How can you doubt the existence of a person you know intimately?! Who you’ve spent time with, who’s heart you’ve experienced!

-Rosary CD Wisdom:
Whenever good comes into contact with evil, there is suffering, (because the good can’t just fight back).

Turning away from ‘I love you’.
—-KNOW THY WEAKNESSES
I’ve been thinking about this and trying to notice what situations make me do that.

**** I turn away from the voice of Love when:
– I get defiant-I don’t care if I walk on their floor with my shoes on, etc because I’m so mad and they deserve it type thing.
– I’m feeling self righteous
– I’m critical and negative
Also when – I’m feeling lazy/frustrated/cheated

In these times, I turn my back on ‘I love you’ but he is still there, I say, ‘I don’t like this it’s no fun’, and he’s there with me, saying ‘I love you’. He’s still there saying ‘I love you’ while all I can do is complain.

-I have been praying and offering things only for my best friend for the last 3 weeks or more (to detriment of others I might offer my day for!). My mentor said that it’s so important to pray during the time of these lessons (4 and 5 etc). And it’s paying off. My heart is filled with Joy for my best friiend. I Offer everything etc, that You would bless her with the gift of faith. It’s the missing piece of the puzzle, it’s the only thing stopping her and it’s something we can overcome! I’ve been THERE, I know.

-Faith-trust – The same way I struggled with the call to Montreal but now the house is easy, I feel it may be the same with evangelization. When you know you know. After struggling along with my best friend, and then seeing her come SO FAR, I expect I will have more faith in God next time I struggle along this road beside another non-believer.

2. The day after we put in our offer, the realtor called back saying the agent for the sellers can’t reach them because they’re out of the country. God loves to throw a wrench in things! He wants to test us and our trust in Him. I remember feeling the same way when Rise Up was totally up in the air, it nearly drove me crazy even in adoration, but it worked out, so now I know there is nothing to fear. I am confident that God will make this happen, one way or another, period.

Then later-the sellers came back with a counter offer which the Realtor rejected. They came with a new one, and we took it.

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But this week has been crazy! From the peace I’ve had surrounding the trailer I’m sure it’s where God wants us to go so I have complete peace; life is just a little crazy while we work out all the details. My world feels like it’s been turned upside down with all the phone calls and appointments! If I try to think about how we’ll get it all done (especially the packing) I go crazy, so I’m taking it one step at a time, just like Montreal. Everything is so up in the air right now, but I’m going to cling to You and hold Your hand through everything, I trust You and I know that this is going to be a good thing for us all.

We have money in the bank now that we can put towards a down payment, and DH is also going to take out the money from his stocks. He’s been putting a little in with each paycheck since he started his job and the company matches it dollar for dollar. It is a huge blessing and help to have this extra income now.

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3. With this new chapter in my life it looks like I’m finally going to learn to budget! This is ultimately a good thing. It’s just hard.

Also, with all the changes in our lives right now DH and I are having to really hash out our disagreements and problems. We are having to work though them (and quickly to sort things out). It’s messy, but it’s good for us and will help us communicate better in the long run.

4. I love my boys.

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The baby loves to dance, he really has the music in him, he has the sweetest little smile and the most infectious giggle. He can eat and eat and never get full and then all of a sudden decides he’s bored of the food or whatever and throws it on the floor. Still it seems he’s got his uncle’s appetite. But he has quite the temper and a strong mischievous streak. He’s addicted to the wiggles and also tv in general. He’s also has to touch and feel everything and he’s more sensitive and needy. My oldest, has a good heart, he encourages and appreciates everyone in his life, from his father, ‘good job daddy, you found my juice’ to Jesus ‘You can do it Jesus!’. He is usually fairly well behaved and genuinely desires to please the adults in his life. He’s well rounded, happy playing by himself and usually up for anything, quite rambunctious, very silly and lots of fun. He’s extremely attached to his blankie and bottles, he can be very whiney when he gets fixated on one thing and can’t let it go.

5. This week we started giving my oldest a plastic cup (without a lid). He’s usually pretty good with it, but then one day this week he was distracted by the tv, tried to drink out of the far end and spilled his milk in his lap. I am going to start slow, offering it now and then, usually wit water. Because it’s new and exciting he cares less about what’s in it 🙂

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Then one evening my oldest was banging on the table. It’s one of those tables with a leaf that folds up, and w e told him no. He wasn’t listening to daddy so I started counting. No sooner had he stopped than his little brother started in. Since the baby was just copying his brother, I asked my oldest to tell him no, hoping if he heard it from him he would take it more seriously. He told baby ‘ no baby, time out’ and slapped his hand. Not the best thing to see, but it was really funny.

6. It looks like photobucket has increased the storage space for each account, the last time I checked I had used some 60 or 70% (and would probably need another account soon, but now it says I’m using 2% of 10 Gb! Praise the Lord, I was out of email addresses. My account should last me a good long while now!

7. This weekend I’m going away to a Learn to Discern retreat. 2.5 days with no kids and no responsibilities, and a chance to focus more on my relationship with God and hopefully deepen my trust in Him. I’m not exactly sure what to expect, I’m not sure how they’ll fill a whole weekend with this topic, but I know it is very much an answered prayer, (as I couldn’t go to the discernment talk at Rise Up because it was already full) so I know God has something good in store.
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