This blog is simply one family's lenten journey seen through the eyes of the Mama.
To understand our family better, please see the side bar for family names and ages.
Hope this is an encouragement for you on your walk with the Lord.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I think I dreamt of my mom last night, but I don't know for certain.  I just have the general recollection of it.  And I don't know what is going on lately.  I have been much more weepy about not having her around than usual.  Is it because her birthday is next week and she would have been 67?  Is it because Artsy's First Communion is around the corner?  Is it because I was picking out Easter and Mother's Day cards today and as usual I ended up buying one for my mom.  I don't know.  I don't intend to buy a card, but there is always one that literally jumps into my hands.  I just still can't believe it has been over 4 years since she died. 

I remember praying that God would bring grandmotherly role models into the kids lives.  They have a wonderful Nana, but unfortunately she lives 18 hours away.  Interestingly, there wasn't one grandmotherly role model, but instead I could list 6 beautiful grandmotherly woman who have all been a wonderful support to my kids in several different ways.  I asked for one and God gave me six.  God cannot be out done can He?

I made a big step today in regards to my spiritual life.  I asked a priest to be my spiritual director.  I am expecting to hear a "no" because I realize how terribly busy they are.   I have been thinking about this for years and finally took the plunge with a priest I barely know, but felt called to check it out.  I will let you know.  Good night!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 15, 2011

I have two thoughts today as I plow through Lent learning profusely from my children.  Today, I was driving with the four kids in the back.  On the other side of the road there was a car with 3 police cars behind it.  Then I saw a man trying desperately to walk a straight line to no avail.  He was clearly drunk, keep in mind this is at 9am.  I lost my temper in the car "What an idiot!  He is drunk!  He could have killed someone!  What is he thinking?  What a loser!", and on I went.  Sad, but true.  I should have obviously held my tongue.  But what does Joke-A-Lot say from the back seat?  "Mama, God calls us to love our enemies."  Darn it!  She is right again.  I can't get away with anything.  So, immediately I agreed and we prayed for him.  I reminded them again when I tucked them in to pray for him.  I also reiterated that what I was doing wasn't useful at all, but our prayers are useful as God loves that man just as much as He loves us.  I am not kidding when I say "My kids are helping me get to Heaven."

The other struggle I have had today is with pride.  My daughters did something really cool recently and a lady from our church wrote an article with my help and put it in the quarterly church pamphlet with a picture of the girls.  Joke-A-Lot asked me if it would be prideful to ask her friends if they saw it.  We agreed that it was something that we didn't need to bring up.  Yet, I had to fight myself because I wanted to ask the mom of these friends if she saw it.  So, I bit my tongue many times and tonight I caved.  I actually blatantly asked her if she saw it.  She said that she had and it was fine, etc.  But I am kicking myself.  Why am I in such need of affirmation and praise from other people?  And there were a couple people that did mention what a nice article it was to me without me prompting them, but why did I have to hear it from her? What is someone put on the spot going to say anyway, "Boy, that article was the pits."   Why isn't it enough to know that the girls did a really great thing for God and that's it?  I just wish I could rely on God alone for my affirmation and praise. 

I am so glad that God loves and forgives me as I try to make my way through this journey of life on earth.  Good night.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 12, 2011

"He alone can take all sorrow away from my heart and all fear from my soul, because He knows me in the very depths of my being."  (In Conversation with God vol 2 pg 24)

I can't help but to try to avoid the news at all cost.  Whenever I hear of the worsening effects of everything in Japan, I just want to cry.  I think of what they must have felt as they were whisked away.  I keep telling my kids, "We really need to keep praying for the people in Japan."  It is absolutely gut-wrenching.  So, again I wonder why I am the lucky one? 

My worst problem today was the fact that Mr. Fix-It painted the girls room and put up some new blinds and we don't think we like the blinds.  Ohhh, what a tragic day here in our home.  Yet, I am so quick to fly off the handle at things like yet another piece of pizza slipping out of someones' hands right onto their lap.  It seems ridiculous to even mention now, but I will go back to the very first blog this Lenten season and what I mentioned there.  These shortcomings and lack of patience issues mean nothing more than the fact that "I am not close enough to Christ".  If I strive more for closeness to him, I will in turn be more gentle, patience, loving and kind.  All the fear that I experience in regards to my kids means nothing more than "I am not close enough to Christ" because if I really was close enough to Christ, I would fully trust that he has everything under control.  I hope to keep this thought running through my blog this season because I really want it etched in my mind that there doesn't have to be elaborate plans on how to become more holy or raise holy kids (although I won't say no to any suggestions), I just need to strive to be closer to Christ and all will be revealed to me.   Good night!

Friday, March 11, 2011

March 11, 2011

We went to Culvers tonight for the fish dinner. While there, we met a gentleman who was alone and clearly wanting conversation. We learned quite a bit about him, at times a little too much about him being that there were 8 ears under the age of 9. Part of me had a selfish attitude wanting to enjoy sitting there with my family without this intrusion. We rarely go out, so this was quite a treat. But here was this man reaching out to us. After hearing his story, I was even more grateful for the family sitting before me. Why should I hoard my family, but rather share it with this gentleman? It was a good reminder to me to keep my eyes focused on my family, but not so focused that I lose my peripheral vision. I don't want to miss those God-intended interactions with people. I also need to continually die to that natural selfish desire within me that wants things exactly the way I want them.

My book talked about mortifications beginning right at the start of the day, like getting out of bed promptly in the morning. Ummm. I really have a hard time with that. I have such a hard, hard time with that. I will go in streaks and go right back to justifying why I need to sleep just a little bit longer and then the day becomes more chaotic because I didn't get up on time. I struggle with self-discipline in so many different areas. And part of the solution is keeping these blog posts reasonable and getting to bed at a decent time. Good Night!

March 10, 2011

Today while riding down the road, I saw a sign on the side of the road that you may also have seen. It read "Fender Bender? Pull over to the shoulder." I have always found that fascinating. Do we really need a sign to tell us to pull over to the shoulder if we have a fender bender? I would think that would be obvious to the common observer that one must get their huge piece of steel and plastic out of the way, so others can proceed past them. But as I thought more about it, I realized that I am not so quick to pull over when I have a mental fender bender. I don't get out of the way, so others can proceed with their day. I typically make sure others (usually my kids and husband) are aware of my mental fender bender. So, I can see the wisdom in this road sign for my spiritual life. When I have a mental or spiritual fender bender, I need to pull over at the soonest opportunity to share information with God and allow his Holy Spirit to come into the situation no matter how small, so as not to cause further mental fender benders between others by not getting out of the way.

In my meditation today, it stated that "one of the clearest symptoms of lukewarmness having entered into a soul is precisely such an abandoning of the Cross, a contempt for little mortifications, a scorning of anything that is some way involves sacrifice and self-denial." I hate sacrifice and that is why I find Lent so difficult, especially in regard to what I put in my body. I gave up diet soda for Lent and hopefully thereafter as well. And I see how quick my mind thinks of consuming that beverage as an enjoyment, like it will provide something for me. Staying up late and writing my blog and reading my meditation is in a way a sacrifice, but quite honestly (and I said I would strive for complete honesty in my blog), I enjoy writing this blog, so it doesn't feel like much of a sacrifice. Doing this also helps me ground myself so much in the spiritual. I think of giving up my coffee with milk in the morning and just cringe. That seems too difficult for me. So, sadly I think God will put crosses in my life to bring me closer to Him, such as when my mom died. I know I am stronger and closer to Him because of her death, but I still miss her so much. Things just seem so much lonelier without her around. I will work to sacrifice more than I do and let you know of any progress in this area. Joke-A-Lot wanted to go to adoration every day during Lent, and I said "No way." Maybe, I need to sacrifice a bit and try to do this.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Welcome Back!

"A pure heart create for me O god; put a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 50

I have decided to do things a little different this Lenten season. I did not actively let anyone know that I would once again be blogging (except for my two girls). I figure if God led anyone to take a look this Lenten season than, I hope they come away with something. But for me, the humility of doing this simply to enrich my relationship with the Lord seems to be exactly what I am called to do. So, the only followers may be God and I. But how great is that? Really.

So, I am lightening up on the rigorous layout that I followed last Lent in my blog. This year I hope to use my lenten meditation called "In Conversation With God" by Francis Fernandez to lead any of my thoughts. I hope to share things that I find funny, but I am taking special care to be real with you and to be a humble servant. I am in no way a perfect Catholic homeschooling mom. Quite the contrary, I am an imperfect Catholic homeschooling mom just trying to hear God through all the clutter that trys to cloud my mind.

I am feeling a bit stir crazy, which is odd for me. I usually love being home with the kids, but I can just feel the blues a bit. And when I read my meditation today it really spoke to me. Maybe it will speak to you "When any one of us realises he is sad, he must think: 'It is because I am not close enough to Christ . . .' If he throws the blame on things around him, he will be wide of the mark; he will be looking in the wrong direction." He continues on using the phrase "I am not close enough to Christ" in response to pretty much everything that we struggle with.

So, despite the "blues" feeling, I don't want to run for the hills. I want to work on this. I can see how hard it is for me to just be. My normal response would to be to try to get busy doing all sorts of activities with the kids until I was crazy. But I think the key for me is going to be finding peace and serenity in the mundane of life. I think that is one of the treasures I can help the kids with too because life isn't always full of fun and excitement. Much of life is work, but to be able to be singularly focused on Christ during that work is a gift I hope to acquire and pass on to the kids.

And I must leave you with a laugh, as I sign off for the night. We went to Ash Wednesday Mass tonight as a family. I was holding Curly, my 3 year old little guy. After we received the ash crosses on our forehead and were walking back up the aisle, Curly starts a LOUD conversation. "Did he just put dirt on my head?" He starts rubbing at his head, "Why did he put dirt on my head? Now I need a bath." And yes, he repeated this montra all the way back to the pew where he was still saying "Now I need a bath, my heads dirty." It is making me laugh just thinking about it. I saw a few other people laugh, too. Curly is hoot and will keep me running all the days of my life, I am sure.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 8, 2010

Verse of the Day
"No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear."
Ephesians 4:29

Song of the Day
"Hold Us Together" by Matt Mahrer

My Thoughts
"This is the first day of the rest of your life." We have heard that a thousand and one times, but what a refreshing thought after those hard to handle days where you feel like you have been impatient and unkind, like I experienced yesterday. God forgives those who seek His forgiveness, and we have the ability to begin afresh the next day or even the same day. And given that fresh start today, I have had a very enjoyable day with my children. I have seen that the real key for me is to stay in the day. When I think of the past, I can become down as I desperately want my mom alive again. I so want to share everything about my life with her and hear her thoughts and opinions about everything. When I think of the future I think of all the sad things that could come my way. But when I stay in today, my life is really quite good. Then I can focus on the tasks at hand whether good or bad. I have these great kids that I really do enjoy, except when Race Car comes out of nowhere to tackle me. He just isn't getting the idea that he has to take it a little easy on his mom. And I have this great husband whose temperment is absolutely perfect for me.

God always knows exactly what we need. Yesterday after my meeting I came home and went to give the kids a kiss. They are usually sound asleep, with the exception of Joke-a-Lot. I was hoping they were up because I wanted to ask their forgiveness for my impatience that day. I was REALLY impatient. As usual Joke-A-Lot was up. She had a poem there waiting for me. I want to share it with you.

Mom's by Joke-A-Lot

"I love my mom. She takes good care of me. She loves me and I love her so much. I couldn't have a better mom than her. Do you have a good mom? I hope you do. I'm glad Jesus made her."

Then in the morning, Artsy gave me her note that she had made for me,

"I love you mom. I love you mom. I love you mom. I love you mom. Love, Artsy"

I felt so unworthy to receive these notes, but it was just enough to invigorate me to do better and try harder, although most importantly to hand these defects of character to God and ask him to remove them just for today.

So, if today was a hard day, turn to God first and ask what He would have you do. I so often turn to human beings first when I really need to turn to God first and human beings second.