July 12, 2015

The Total Sacrifice of Mothers

Having a tough day, Mom?  Then this one's for YOU!

“I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.”  (Romans 12:1)
 
"The most important person on earth is a Mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral—a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. The angels have not been blessed with such a grace… What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?"  (Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty)

Okay.  So, maybe it's not, "glorious," EVERY day.  Especially not on the days wherein you're ready to tear your hair out, if one...more...person...wails your name...for the forty-eleventh time!

"Maaaaah-ahm!?"

Argghhh!!!

Deep breaths.  Hang in there.

Today might seem like an eternity, but this time with your little ones WILL be fleeting.  You WILL miss this.  And if you so much as blink, you might well miss it altogether.

Take some time for yourself ( ! ).  (Hahahaha!  I know.  What a funny idea!)  Don't be shy about asking a friend or a relative to come babysit the kids for an hour, an afternoon, or an overnight. No, really.  Whatever you need.

Do it.

Not because you have something to do.  But, because YOU, as a mom, need some time to do nothing.

You need some time to completely unwind and recharge, without a single soul requiring that you change a diaper, fill a sippy cup, make a sandwich, fix a toy, clean up [fill in repulsive bodily discharge here], check homework, find a lost favorite shirt, or load everyone into the van and drive somewhere.  Again.

Do it.

Get away.

I mean it.

You are not selfish.  No machine can run without fuel.  That includes you.  And your fuel is not just physical nourishment, whatever the kids left on their plates, or a sip of tea while you wash dishes at the kitchen sink.  As mothers and as women of Catholic faith, we all counsel each other to, "take care of you," but we seldom do it ourselves.

Do it.

Get away.

I mean it.

You will be a healthier mother for having replenished the stores from which you give, and give, and give.  And you and your children will love and enjoy and appreciate each other that much more! 

Do it today!

July 1, 2015

On Perseverance

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it." (James 1:1-5)

June 30, 2015

Be Careful What You Ask For...

Today's inspiration is to be careful what you ask for in prayer...because you just might get it.  In spades.  Are you...

Praying for a heart of charity (LOVE) toward others?  Expect someone to come along who is reeeeeeally difficult to love, but needs you to do it anyway.

Praying for JOY?  Perhaps the gift of life, a new baby, is coming into your world!  You know, that proverbial, "bundle of joy?"  The kind that never sleeps through the night, spits up on everything, and has an ear-splitting scream that's piercing enough to shatter glass.  In your ear.

Praying for PEACE?  Expect the nightly news to show, well, more of same.

Praying for PATIENCE (forbearance)?  Expect a situation to come along that quite tries your patience.  Really.

Praying for KINDNESS?  Expect anger to bubble to the surface the next time you struggle to summon up kindness instead.

Praying for GOODNESS?  We can't all be angels, can we?

Praying for GENEROSITY?  Expect to be asked to part with the person, place, or thing you hold most dear.

Praying for GENTLENESS?  Expect someone to do something.  That.  REALLY.  Ticks.  You.  Off.

Praying for FAITHFULNESS?  Expect a possible dull, "dry," time in the way your heart used to soar during private prayer or at Mass.

Praying for MODESTY?  Summer's here.  Good luck finding a modest bathing suit or age-appropriate clothing for your young teenage daughter.

Praying for CHASTITY?  Expect temptation to be thrust into your line of vision, even someplace as seemingly innocuous as the grocery store check-out line!

Praying for FORTITUDE?  Expect a challenge to come along that tests your spiritual strength.  A lot.

Praying for SELF-CONTROL?  Well, now.  That would be a little bit of, "All of the Above," wouldn't it?

But, wait a minute.

None of those answers were the FRUITS of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  None of those trials are the virtue for which I prayed, are they?  Nooooo.  But, as the old adage goes, the only way to learn patience is the hard way (which my children still don't understand).

When you pray for a virtue, just plan right away on the devil listening in and immediately throwing into your path every opposite vice he possibly can.  He might not be able to divine your private thoughts and prayers to God.  But, the devil's not stupid.  And he is very, very observant.

The antidote, of course, to these challenges that are in direct contradiction to the virtue for which you are praying, is one word.  Actually, He's "The Word."  JESUS!

Oh, it's not that simple.  As Mother Teresa wisely noted from experience, Jesus is not an easy spouse.  He never said, "Take up your silver spoon and follow Me."  Um, no.  He said, "Take up your CROSS and follow Me," (Matthew 16:24).

Where are we following Him?

Ultimately, to Heaven, of course!

As Peter did (but failed to continue to do on the Sea of Galilee, Matthew 14:22-33) keep your eyes on the prize, and you'll be able to weather the storms of life.  Keep your eyes on Jesus.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Believe in Him, follow Him, live your life (yes, even your ole, mundane, run-'o-the-mill, boring, everyday, groundling life) for Him, and He will lead you to Heaven.  'Cause that's where God wants ALL of us to be welcome!

Remember your basic Catechism:

Who made you?  God made you (that would be Jesus).

Why did God make you?  God made you to know, love, and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

Remember, heaven'll be worth it.  But, God never promised it would be easy getting there.

So, the next time you're praying to be infused with some worthy virtue, brace yourself.  Brace yourself against The Cross.  Because the devil doesn't want you to get to heaven.  But, in the end, and in your life, the Lord will triumph.  In the end, as Our Lady promised at Fatima in 1917, "My Immaculate Heart will triumph."  

Just as surely as you may expect storms in life, expect, too, for His blessings to follow!

May 6, 2015

Today's Inspiration

“Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it

"Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually: The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped. He is not only with me, but in me and I in Him.”

(St. Francis de Sales)

March 19, 2015

Catholic Conference 4 Moms - YOU!

http://www.catholicconference4moms.com/
This Lent, as we prepare our hearts and souls for Easter, treat yourself to some spiritual refreshment, rest, and renewal.  Here is your opportunity to attend an awesome online, Catholic, moms conference -- at your convenience, at an incredible price!

http://www.catholicconference4moms.com/

The Catholic Conference 4 Moms was designed for busy moms and homeschooling mothers like us!  The conference includes 27 inspiring talks, four e-books, a rosary craft kit, Catholic foodie podcasts, a discussion guide for personal or group Bible study, and much more!

All this for $39.99!  And if you use the coupon code, "RosaryWraps," (with no spaces) you will receive a $10.00 discount, so the entire conference would be only $29.99!

You pick the speakers.  You pick when to listen to them.  You have just invested in an outstanding Lenten journey of easy spiritual refreshment and preparation for the coming of Our Lord!

http://www.catholicconference4moms.com/prizes.html


The Catholic Conference 4 Moms.  Give it some thought.  Give it your time.  Give it to another mom.  Because as moms, you're are worth it!  Nurture yourself so you may nurture your family!

March 4, 2015

Catholic Conference 4 Moms - Last Chance to Sign Up!

BannerFans.comRemember seeing in the pet store those little plastic terrariums with the hamster racing, panting, on his itsy, bitsy, endlessly, rapidly spinning wheel?  Ever feel like that?

Yeah.  Me, too.

This Lent, treat yourself to some spiritual refreshment, rest, and renewal!  Here is your opportunity to attend a free, online, Catholic, moms conference next month:


http://www.catholicconference4moms.com/

You'll receive a daily e-mail for each of the four days, with links to the speakers for that day.  You may listen to the speakers at any time that day -- before the kids are up, on lunch break, after school, or even after the kids are in bed.

And it's FREE!

That's it!

You pick the speakers.  You pick when to listen to them!  There will even be three prize packages awarded every day of the conference.  You may peek at the prizes here:

http://www.catholicconference4moms.com/prizes.html


At the end of the conference, if you missed anyone or just want to share a great talk with a friend, you may purchase the entire conference on audio for just $39.99.  And if you use the coupon code, "RosaryWraps," (with no spaces) you will receive a $10.00 discount, so the entire conference is only $29.99!

But, for the initial airing, this entire conference is FREE for YOU!

Give it some thought.  Give it your time.  Give it to another mom friend.  Because as moms, YOU are worth it!

February 25, 2015

On Lenten Sacrifice

What should you give up for Lent?

Remember to keep it simple.  Start small.  Don't jump off the cliff during Week One.

For children, give up your favorite toy or activity (e.g. - playing with your dolls, army men, or video games).  Do something in focus or service to God in its place (like, perhaps, graciously play your sister's favorite activity with her instead; oh, go on, it won't kill you).

For adults, give up your favorite indulgent thing.  Don't give up every grain of sugar or candy within a 50 mile radius.  But, perhaps give up buying your favorite chocolate truffles (...I know, I can't believe I just said that!).  Drink water instead of juice or soda.  Give up your favorite purchased drink at Starbucks, put that money in an envelope throughout the week, and place the money in the poor box at church on Sunday.

Remember, Lent is the spiritual version of, "mind over matter."  Show God and yourself that your will is stronger than your flesh.

Start small.  Baby steps.  You can't do this on your own, you know.  Carve out a little sacrifice, a wee pocket of spare time for God, and let Him start filling you up with inspiration and His love.

He died on the cross for you.  I think He can handle 40 days with no chocolate.  (After all, one would have to be divine to manage that, right!?)

A Lenten Creed

"The way of life as set down by St. Benedict in his Rule offers a set of Christian ideals which are sufficiently flexible, adaptable, and moderate so that no one need be dismayed or discouraged at failure to achieve the heights of holiness all at once. St. Benedict makes room for many different levels of spiritual progress when he states: '[Let the abbot] so moderate all things that there be something for the strong to strive after and nothing to dishearten the weak,' (RB 64:19)."  (source: http://oblatesavannah.com/oblates/what-are-benedictine-oblates)

I think I've just found my Lenten creed.

Both St. Benedict and St. Francis de Sales preached and wrote often and expansively on finding holiness in one's vocation, right where you are.  Now, thanks to Lent, I've got 40 days to seriously ponder and consider who I am, where I am, and what I am doing in service to God.

Remember:

God made you to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him for ever in Heaven.  Don't miss this chance to renew and refresh your focus on Him by, "giving up," extraneous distractions in your life and clearing a space to be filled by Him.

Liken it to a spiritual shoveling out of the way all the books, toys, and general detritus of your living room when company is about to arrive.  It's not that any of those items are inherently evil or shameful.  They are, however, impediments to your guests having a clear uncluttered path to your best room and the most comfortable chair.

Clear a path for God this Lent.  Invite Him into your heart and your life more deeply by clearing a few non-life-threatening things out of the way.  Don't set yourself up for failure.  I mean, c'mon -- don't give up coffee, cigarettes, and booze all at once.  Pick one and be deliberate about making a choice each day not to indulge in that thing (except on Sundays, the feast of the Resurrection).

Make it simple.  Make it stick.

If you fail, start over.
If you fall, stand up.
If you crumble, stretch out your arm and reach for His hand.

The Lord loves you.  This Lent, let Him in.

21 Martyrs

"The world was not worthy of them," (Hebrews 11:38)

"They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death.  Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them.
But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time,” (Revelation 12:11-12).

February 24, 2015

My Favorite Animal

So, after our first-ever field trip to the zoo, I overheard my toddler son telling one of his older siblings:

"My favorite land animal is a lion.  My favorite ocean animal is a shark.  And my favorite sky animal is a reindeer."

Ah.  I see.

Actually, I do see.  Now I think I understand why Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven," (Matthew 18:3).  My young, believing son accepted without question that reindeer are sky animals, because he heard it from me, his most trusted authority.  What more trusted authority is there ever than The Author of Life Himself?  We must, with the absolute acceptance of a small child, believe in the Lord, believe what He tells us, and unquestioningly put it into practice in our lives.

Every day.  Okay?

(This is the point at which you cue the squealing breaks sound....)

Wait a minute.  Really?  Do you really think it's that easy to just do what Jesus says?  Every day!?

No.  Of course not.  (I might like to pretend I'm Wonder Woman when we're playing Superheroes, but in reality, of course, I'm not.)

However, my little son's easy, unblinking acceptance that reindeer can fly, and his assimilation of that fact into his own daily life, was a tiny microcosm for me of the way Christ's example, words, and teachings can seep into our lives and change the way we see the things around us each day, even making us believe that which seems utterly unbelievable.

(Bread and wine are flesh and blood?  Really?  And you're supposed to eat that?  Really!?)

Yes.  Really.

I'm not saying that I nor anyone else I know can turn saintly, day and night, on a dime.  I am, however, saying that your unique life, when viewed purposefully through the prism of Christ's love for His creation (which is all around you and includes YOU), can immediately bring peace to a troubled soul, joy to a despairing heart, and order to a restless mind.  "The eyes of the LORD roam over the whole earth, to encourage those who are devoted to him wholeheartedly," (II Chronicles 16:9, my italic emphasis added).

Serve Him wholeheartedly.  With all of yourself.  In every situation.

Remember:

Who made us?  God made us.

Why did God make us?  God made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven (Baltimore Catechism, No. 1, Question 6).

God wants you to be a part of His glorious eternity.  Forever!  Believe it!

But, first we have to schlog through this messy little thing called, "life."  It ain't always glamorous, but in the end, if we truly believe and seek His Presence and Purpose in every situation, you will be well on your way along the path to Heaven, thanks to your trusting and believing in Him like a little child -- completely and without question.

I'm not saying don't ask Him any questions.  I am saying, for starters, just believe.  Just.  Believe.  And let your belief and trust in Him be reflected in everything you do.

Then, "You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD, a royal diadem in the hand of your God," (Isaiah 62:3).

February 19, 2015

Don't Give Up

A friend of mine, who recently began homeschooling for the first time, found that both she and her children were ready and cheerful to begin homeschooling!

Until February.

Along about February, the bloom is off the rose of homeschooling, and many children (and parents!) feel the soul-dragging weight of pursuing their studies half-heartedly, with neither the thrill of September nor the triumph of May anywhere in sight.

Stay strong!  This is the time of year when, due to weather, many people are more house-bound.  Bored, cooped-up children choose this time to test their family's commitment to homeschooling.  The children feel restless, listless, boundless, and aimless, all at the same time.  But, what they're really looking for is a reminder your family's goals, boundaries, and investment.

- Review again your family's overarching goals for homeschooling.  (Write a Mission Statement!)

- Readjust your boundaries for required study time, playtime, chores, or rewards to reflect the progress your children have (or have not) made to this point half way through the school year.  (Have the kids evaluate themselves -- and/or each other -- first!)

- Renew your investment in this great endeavor called homeschooling by re-reading some inspirational homeschool material during Lent, or getting together with like-minded moms to mutually encourage each other.  (Try reading Holly Pierlot's A Mother's Rule of Life or Cari Donaldson's Pope Awesome and Other Stories to freshen your perspective.  Or host a simple Friday morning tea while the kids play.)

A wise woman (and veteran homeschooler) once counseled me to never, never, never, NEVER, *NEVER!!!* make homeschooling decisions during February.  Every year I find out again that she was absolutely right.  The Church has liturgical seasons throughout the year to echo the natural ebb and flow of our human lives.  Why should our homeschool year be any different?

During this season called, "February," take some time to slow down, review, reevaluate,  and renew your commitment to move forward in your homeschooling with purpose.  You're not alone, so don't jump off the cliff just yet!


February 17, 2015

Handy-Dandy List to Lenten Sacrifice

Kerry Baunach over at Catholic Sistas published last year a wonderful, "Handy-Dandy List to Lenten Sacrifice."  What an inspiring blog post!  There's something for everyone there to enrich your prayer life in simple, do-able ways during this Lenten time of preparation.  Enjoy!

February 12, 2015

The Efficacy of Long Distance Prayer

A dear friend of mine sent me the link to this inspiring article, written by her tennis partner's daughter.  The only, "distance," that actually is far away to God is the one we create when we don't turn to Him.

May you be inspired this Lent to close the distance in prayer.  Lift up your loved ones and turn your ordinary activities into a time of prayerful conversation with God on their behalf!  Your day and their lives will only be the better for it.

http://www.alivetogethermag.org/when-my-running-shoes-are-on/  

February 11, 2015

Saint of the Day

This site was just recommended by another Catholic homeschooler.  It's a great resource, not only for brief daily stories about today's saint (or any other -- you can search alphabetically or chronologically!), but also for many other nourishing aspects of living our Catholic faith, both at home and in the school room (see any of the teal-colored sidebar menu choices on the left when you get there).

http://www.loyolapress.com/saints-stories-for-kids.htm?cId=403415
Awesome!  Enjoy!

February 10, 2015

Catholic Online Conference for Moms - FREE!

BannerFans.comRemember seeing in the pet store those little plastic terrariums with the hamster racing, panting, on his itsy, bitsy, endlessly, rapidly spinning wheel?  Ever feel like that?

Yeah.  Me, too.

This Lent, treat yourself to a shot in the arm of well-earned spiritual adrenaline!  Here is your opportunity to attend a free, online, Catholic, moms conference next month:


http://www.catholicconference4moms.com/

You'll receive a daily e-mail for each of the four days, with links to the speakers for that day.  You may listen to the speakers at any time that day -- before the kids are up, on lunch break, after school, or even after the kids are in bed.

And it's FREE!

That's it!

You pick the speakers.  You pick when to listen to them!  At the end of the conference, if you missed anyone or just want to share a great talk with a friend, you may purchase the entire conference on audio for just $40.00.  But, for this initial airing, the entire conference is FREE for YOU!

Give it some thought.  Give it your time.  Give it to another mom friend.  Because as moms, YOU are worth it!