Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Beginnings of Holy Week

On Sunday we were blessed with a "down-time" day.  As my husband said, "Why is it that we yearn for days like this for weeks on end and then when we get one, we get irritated that we haven't done anything?"  My answer: the devil.  Dissatisfaction being stirred up in us for no reason.  After that, we both chilled and put on some music and had a dance party with the kids.  Turned out to be a very nice day.  I'm always so grateful when we can spend a whole day with all of our children and have fun together.

Our school week will end with the close of the day on Wednesday when we will begin to truly enter into the holiest days of the year.  Traditionally we go to the Holy Thursday Mass and then stop at a church or two afterwards for Adoration.  This year, since our new parish is in a more populated area, we will have the opportunity to visit all seven churches that tradition dictates.  Add to that our homemade pretzels to snack on between visits and it should shape up to be a nice evening.

On Friday our parish has it's Good Friday service at 3:00.  This parish has a fish fry afterwards, complete with desserts, but we've decided that would be too much of a temptation for us so we'll just come home and have our own fish fry (well, maybe more likely boxed fish fillets thrown in the oven).  Egg decorating will be the order of the evening.

Saturday has typically been a preparatory day for us.  We have Easter bread to bake and a house to clean since we will be hosting Easter dinner.  

As difficult as it may be sometimes, I love this week of the year.  There's nothing to do except focus on what the Lord has done for us out of His great love.  We turn off the electronics and focus on the silence until that great day, Easter, when we can shout for joy "Alle....".  I love that part!

So as I transition my music from Maroon 5 (love that new song!) to Theodore Dubuois' "Seven Last Words of Christ" (although I have to warn against doing this too quickly as it is quite a shock to the system) and move into a more off-line mentality, I want to wish you all a very blessed Holy Week and a Joyous Easter!

God Bless!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Noises of the Morning

This morning was a mix of things.  Husband and son getting up early to get haircuts and get to Mass.  Four girls (two of mine and two extras) getting up early to get to an all day Miles Christi girls' retreat.  One girl getting up early to get to work.  

This meant alarms, many of them, going off at all different times.  I heard the one at 5:30.  I heard another one at 5:50.  I heard a third at 6:00.  Different rooms, different sounds.

When I heard the one at 6:15, I wondered whose that would be, as by then everyone should have been up that needed to be.  To make matters worse, they weren't turning it off so it was just chirping and chirping away.


It was then that I rolled over and realized that the sound was not coming from within the house but from outside.

God's alarm clock was telling me it was time.  Birds chirping...Yay!  It's been so long since I've been woken up to that sound that I forgot what it sounded like.  

So I rolled over and slept for another 1/2 hour.

God Bless!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It's A Cricket Chirping Kind of Day

I wonder why some days (or days in-a-row) have to be so chock-full of stuff that you can't even see straight and then other days you just hear the crickets chirping?

Today is a cricket-chirping kind of day and, don't get me wrong, I am absolutely loving not having to be anywhere or do anything in a time-crunch.  What worries me about these days is that I'm forgetting something.

I am so used to being TOO busy that when I have a day that I am not, I spend most of the day wracking my brain to make sure that I'm not forgetting anything.

I have checked my list.
I have checked my goals.
I have checked all three of my calendars (yes, three...I really need to work on that).

It does not appear that I am missing anything, but yet that feeling persists.

Instead of fretting, I will enjoy the lack of activity, sit on the couch near the sunny window and work on a project or read a book and revel in the calm until the next tidal wave hits.

God Bless!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Making the Mass More Interesting

As part of my goals this year, I'm trying to be more deliberate in my spiritual reading, so to that end I'm working my way through Matthew Kelly's book "Rediscovering Catholicism".  In this latest chapter he was discussing how most Catholics feel that Mass is boring and then shares some ideas on how he thinks we can turn that thinking around.

While I don't feel that Mass is boring, I will admit to being highly distracted most days during at least part of it.  Matthew discusses two things that can help to make Mass much more "interesting", both of which I've tried with varying degrees of success.  

During Lent I've been leading a Miles Christi formation group.  We meet once a week and go over materials that are sent to us by the MC priests.  One of the things they send is a reflection on the upcoming Sunday's Gospel reading.  We read the Gospel then the reflection and then discuss them.  This is a great way to familiarize yourself with what you are going to hear on the weekend.  This is one of Matthew Kelly's recommendations.  I will admit, however, that even though I've done this, most Sunday's I still get to the Gospel reading and don't recognize it, or remember much of what we discussed.  Horrible, I know.  I think it comes down to too many things going on in my brain and not being able to remember something for that long.  It is a great idea, I just need to be able to retain the information for longer than 30 minutes.

His second idea is also something I've done in the past, and that is to bring a journal to Mass and write down things that you feel God is trying to say to you through the readings, songs, prayers or homily.  This really engages your brain because you're listening to all the different parts of the Mass just waiting for God to speak to your heart.  I'm not quite sure why I ever stopped doing this, however.  After reading about this again, I think I might give it another go around.  

I got to thinking about how a parish might be transformed if the pastor were to introduce these two things and somehow get the majority of his parishioners to try them out.  I think it could definitely transform them.  I know that if I do both of them and actually pay attention to them, it will definitely transform me.

If you're looking for a good book to read to rejuvenate your spiritual life, I would highly recommend this book.  Every chapter has given me a lot to think about...and remember.  I'm still working on the remembering part of it, though.

God Bless!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Going to the Movies on a Sunny Afternoon

A lot of the blogs that I've followed for the past many years seem to be falling into the same routine as I have been; namely - not posting but once a week if we're lucky.  I pondered that for awhile and I realized that I had started following these blogs back when all of us had younger children.  Back when packing everyone up to go out was a monumental event so we just stayed home and had a wee bit more time to do homey things...like blog all the time.  Now that the kids are older and far more mobile, it seems as if we aren't ever home anymore. I check my blog feed and I see the same post headlines that were there the last time I checked...two or three days ago.  At least I'm not the only one. 

So what has kept me busy this past week?  Well, one of my children had her Spring break last week (it really is difficult when everyone is on a different schedule!) and she talked me into going to the movies with her to see "Cinderella".  I went grudgingly for a few reasons:  1.  My back had gone out that morning and I was a tad uncomfortable at the time (although not as uncomfortable as I would be after sitting in the theater for 2 hours!) and 2.  See above.  I really didn't want to leave the house again.

Alas, as mothers, we must die to ourselves and go to the movies with our daughters on occasion (cue the mournful violin music) .  I'm glad I did.  It was a very enjoyable movie.  I cried multiple times.  Since then all of my daughters have seen it and not one of them cried.  Not once.  Really?  Cold-hearted they are.  My eldest said that crying at movies must be something you acquire when you become a mother.  I think she's right.

You've already read a ton of articles, opinions and reviews on this movie so I'll just chime in and say that yes, you should go see it because it really was as Christian as everyone said it was, the cinematography was beautiful, the acting was great and the storyline was wonderful.

When we were watching the movie, there was one line that just jumped out at me.  It is when the fairy godmother says "The greatest risk we will take is to let others see us as we really are".  I don't know why, but it stuck with me.  Even more so than the "have courage and be kind" line (which is a good one, too).  I think that between the two lines, you have a pretty good guideline about how to live your life.  You should be kind to others, have courage in all things, and be yourself, even if it means taking that risk with someone.  I just really appreciate when the person I am getting to know is being who they really are and not acting as someone they aren't.  I want to get to know the real person, not just the facade they put on because they think they should be acting a certain way.  We've always tried to be that to others, too.  Yes, we're crazy and loud and kind of goofy at times.  What you see is what you get.  It hasn't scared too many people away, yet (I don't think!).

I'm so glad the prince still wanted to marry Cinderella even though she wasn't what she had seemed to be at the ball.  It really was a beautiful moment.  I'm pretty sure I cried. 

Go see "Cinderella" with your daughter, you'll be glad you did.

God Bless!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Set That Alarm!

A friend of mine sent me an email about "someone" starting up a prayer group to pray for our country.  I have no idea if any of this about Churchill is true, but even if it isn't, it sure seems like a good idea to me to take one minute every day to pray for our country.  Here's what she sent:
Someone has said that if Christians really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.  During WWII there was an adviser to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and for peace.
There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America.  If you would like to participate --every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States and for a return to a Godly nation.

I think we are definitely in need of something organized like this.  So, in addition to praying your rosary for our country or offering up prayers during daily Mass, why not set an alarm on your phone to go off at the prescribed time and spend one minute praying for the U.S.?

I was waiting till we actually got our phones to post this.  We finally got them the other day and after having spent the past two days figuring it all out, I set a timer for 8:00 pm so I can give this a try.  As long as I remember what I set the alarm for, it should work, right?  Won't you join us?

 God Bless!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Ode to the Smart Phone

Smart phones are everywhere; well, except for here.  They were supposed to be here earlier this week to launch us into the 21st century, but we won't talk about that right now.  I especially noticed that they are everywhere when we were in Nashville.  People on the streets, people in the bars (or honkey-tonks as they're properly called), people in the resort and restaurants.  Everyone is looking at their phone...all the time...even when conversing with others.  

I know this isn't news to anyone; not even me.  I found myself more than once reaching for my husband's phone to look something up while we were having a conversation.  It is an annoying habit and I really think that people should start being more conscious of being on their phones when they are with other people.

However, that being said, I am eternally grateful that we had his smart phone because it helped us immensely when it came to finding the best route home through snow-laden Kentucky.  We got up-to-the-minute posts from people trying to avoid the same interstate.  We got an excellent recommendation on a detour that saved us from getting stuck in a backup.  It even helped us on our trip down because the weather was bad then, too, and we were able to find a suitable detour when the traffic was stopped on the highway.

We looked up restaurant ideas when we were stuck in our hotel.  We checked out Mass times and locations when we were downtown.  We even found parking garages that were close to the restaurant we wanted so we could get pelted by the least amount of rain as possible.

As we finished up our trip, I got to thinking how it was ever possible to take a road trip and have to use a map to get your information.  You were subject to so many unknowns.  Does it even seem possible???  I mean, how did you know what to expect?  How did you know where to eat or park or what time anything was?  How did you find all of that out?  I honestly can't remember what it felt like.

Or, because we didn't know any better, we just didn't care, right?  When you don't know any different, you don't know what you are missing, so you can't miss it.  Can you imagine, though, having to go back to the way it was?  I envision an entire country going through all of the physical symptoms of withdrawal.  It would be a horrible experience, but I'm wondering if, once we all got used to it again, would we like it better?  Hard to say, isn't it?

I don't see us going back any time soon, do you?  Until then, I'm going to (try to) wait patiently until my smart phone arrives and then try very hard not to let it take over my life, or at least my every waking moment.  Like a lot of things, I hope to enjoy the good and not get sucked into the "bad".  Here's to hoping :)

God Bless!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

On Getting Away and Being Disappointed

Last week my husband and I took a trip to Nashville for a few days.  It was my birthday present to him for the big 5-0.  This trip, besides celebrating his birthday, was meant to be kind of a cathartic one for us.  The last time we tried to go away for a few days we had to come back early because my father-in-law went into the hospital and died the next day.  Come to think of it, we've never really had much luck with vacations.  For years we were on a streak where every time we went on a vacation, someone (usually me) was sick and/or running a high fever or throwing up all over everyone else.  

Anyhow, while this trip was not the one we had hoped it would be, it did fall into the "usual" for us.  Of course we had some nice moments, and it really was good to be away, but unfortunately the weather had a big impact in a variety of ways on our time in Nashville:  torrential rains, ice, snow.  Yep, they don't do well with snow and ice in the south.

I know it will sound silly, given the huge amounts of suffering in the world, but one of the biggest disappointments was when we went to the Opry to see Trace Adkins and Trace was sick and didn't show up.  Inconsequential, I know.  But it was at the end of a long and stressful trip down there and it was to be one of the highlights of the trip.

I've thought a lot about my reaction that night.  I know that I have so many things to be grateful for.  And I am; believe me.  Our sufferings are minute compared to others I know.  But at that moment, the moment when the announcer quickly told us that Trace was not going to be there that night, I was...human.  I was tired and stressed about a variety of things and I  just couldn't believe that this one thing that we had wanted so much was not happening.  I didn't rant or rave or yell at anyone.  That would have been wrong.  But I was upset and tried not to cry because I felt so let down.  In that moment, I was upset; upset at God that this one small request wouldn't be granted. 

Since then, I've put it all in perspective (although I'm still pretty disappointed).  Of course, many people would tell me how foolish it was to feel so upset by something so minor.  The problem is, sometimes, at that moment, whatever is happening is important; so much so that we are upset and angry and frustrated.  I'm pretty sure we've all been there before.  The key is in how we deal with it.  Sometimes we might get verbal about the situation.  Sometimes we might let it fester way too long (I'm trying not to, really!).  It might take time to let it go, but we have to realize that our feelings at that moment were real and do have merit.  To push them away as foolish is wrong.  We need to acknowledge our feelings, make reparation if we've dealt with them the wrong way, and then move on without feeling guilty for them.

There were a lot of little tidbits I've gleaned from those few days away.  Maybe that was part of the point of it.  I'm not sure what I was thinking, trying to plan a get-away during Lent.  That lesson I will remember.  I'm also rethinking our summer vacation plans.  Maybe we'll just stay home....

God Bless!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Catholic Conference 4 Moms

Today is the final day for the Catholic Conference 4 Moms.  It has been four days filled with wonderful talks to refresh and rejuvenate your soul; which is always a great thing to do during Lent.  Have you had a chance to listen to a lot of the talks?  I sure hope so.

Unfortunately for me, this conference came at a time when I'd been out of town for a few days and had to be present to the family this past weekend.  This is why I AM SO GLAD that the conference organizers are offering all of the conference talks as downloads (along with discussion questions) for purchase.

It gets even better.  Not only will I (and you, if you so choose) be able to download all of the talks and listen to them at my leisure, but they're throwing in some free goodies, too:  a couple of ebooks and some mysteries of the Rosary templates (you can check it all out here!).

Want some more good news?  This package normally costs $39.99.  If you use the coupon code I'm about to share with you, you'll get all of this for $10 off ($29.99)!!

The code you can use is:


There you go.  You get $10 off and since I'm an affiliate I receive a small stipend for promoting it.  Not a bad deal for either of us, huh?  Don't forget to use your code.   You can order your package on this page.

I'm really looking forward to listening to these talks and I hope you are, too (if you haven't listened to them all already!).

Feel free to share this code with your friends.  And then, share the talks with your friends.  You can have a monthly or weekly moms discussion group where you could all get together and listen to a talk or two and then, of course, discuss them.  Or how about holding a mom's retreat and spend the whole day using various talks?  Sounds like a great idea; maybe I'll try to organize one :)

God Bless!