Monday, February 29, 2016

A Little Chat

So, I found Michele's post in my emails recently.  I have to admit,  I am behind on any blog reading.  Trying to keep up with the lofty goals I set for Lent.  Anyway, it got me thinking.  Maybe she is right.  I mean, I really love those chit-chatty posts as well.  This blog has been suffering from lack of time and energy, coupled with pressure (all self inflicted) to produce the best post ever, every time!

Here's a resolution to post more and analyze less.  We currently have some sort of nasty virus sweeping through the house--people are dropping like dominoes flies (if my husband reads this post he will appreciate my mixed up idiom usage)  So, perhaps I am a bit delirious--I feel like I am next.

How is your Lent going?  Too quickly?  I know what you mean.  I am so enjoying the Matthew Kelly's Best Lent Ever and St Paul's Center for Biblical Studies course on Mary and the Bible.  However, the best part of my Lent, so far, has been my last minute decision to throw together a small group study for 33 Days to Morning Glory.  I received the book as a gift at least four years ago, completing it in a group has made me stay on track and not give up.

These Lenten gems have been just what the doctor ordered for my homeschooling fatigue.  Please tell me that I am not the only one!  Middle school, Communion prep, and a noisy, crazy toddler have worn me down.  I keep asking myself, "Why am I doing this?"

I know the answers, I can give them myself--I just don't always like them.  I keep looking for another option, even though I know that one does not exist that will meet my goals and standards.

Speaking about "why am I doing this?" it is time to begin working on the Children's Stations of the Cross for Good Friday.  I was not looking forward to tracking down kids to play each part, and pleading with singers and readers.  However, God is good.  I already have five children signed up in the first few hours of registration--including Jesus, which is usually the hardest sell!

How about you, do you have any special events for children at your parish this Lent?  Thanks for stopping by to chat awhile. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sacrificial Giving-Plus Qualifiers in #7QT

I wrote this article in a burst of inspiration from the Holy Spirit's prompting to share this idea.  After I finished it and reread for editing I became afraid that I wasn't worthy to share this message.  It has been sitting in my draft folder for over a week.  I realized I must share it, but here are my seven qualifiers first, before you think I am someone I am not.

Inspiration needs perspiration, so just having a revelation in your heart does nothing without a transformation of your soul and habits.  I am praying very hard this Lent for the transformation to become who God wants me to be.

I have said it before, I am only a sinner.  There is nothing more special about me, other than God sometimes speaks to me through writing ideas.  However, I read the quote recently, "A saint is just a sinner who kept trying."  I am going to just keep trying.

My life is not perfect, my days are not perfect, I am not perfect.  There is so much I do not share publicly, but know that those moments that I am glad no one else sees are real.

I do not want to come off as overly pious, nor pompous.  However, I pray often, "Speak, LORD, Your servant is listening."   So, when I considered just burying this article and not publishing, I felt like God would then say, "Hey, I spoke, you just didn't listen." And nobody wants that!

It has been my fervrant prayer for years for God to sent me where I can serve Him best.  I have been struggling with feeling like I am not getting anywhere where I can be God's Hands and Feet.  Howevver, I have realized, recently, that God has sent me to a mission field--our town and our home--with plenty of people in need to recieving God's Love and Light.

If not me, then who?

I would rather try for Christ and fail, then never even try.  

After all those qualifiers, here is the idea God placed on my heart:

At our Lenten Small Group Study, my dear friend, Dara, said that for Lent she was truly trying to give until it hurt, to give above and beyond by true sacrifice.  I began to think of how I could do likewise. When we think of giving, we generally associate it with giving of money, goods, and riches.  However in my reflection on how to live this sacrifice, a radical thought was laid on my heart.  What if I gave mercy until it hurt?  What if I gave of my time and patience and love until it truly hurt?

In the movie Fireproof, a young fire fighter and his wife are on the brink of divorce.  When Caleb, played by Kirk Cameron, seeks pity from his father, this father instead gives him a Love Dare manual.  While Caleb is the one being jilted, he accepts the idea and tries to proceed with the dare. It is daunting at first, cooking breakfast for his wife that she refuses to eat, sending flowers that she will not acknowledge.  Though difficult, his father persuades him to continue. As time passes, Caleb realizes how little sacrificial love he had been sharing.  His marriage is saved in the end, but it is Caleb' s heart that is most transformed.

So this is my challenge.  What if I take those five minutes to snuggle with my son, when I would rather get to read?  What if I woke up early to clean and devoted my mornings to being there for the children?  What if my first action in the morning was to truly pray for God to use me for His Glory instead of calculating how many more minutes I could eek out of my morning to lie in bed a bit longer? What if when my alarm for the Angelus chimes, I completely stop and patiently pray every word regardless of what I am in the middle of doing?  What if I met my husband at the door in a loving welcome instead of hovering over my pots, pans, and email?  What if I stopped craving time for me and sought only time for God?  What if I looked in my Bible six times a day and checked my email once? What if I let the person behind me check out first, held the door a little longer, gave up the primo parking spot, drove gently and joyfully?  What if I forgave instantly, gave blessing for ridicule, prayed earnestly for those who offend me, resolve to be unoffended?  What if I loved the LORD my God with all my heart and all my mind and all my strength and all my soul?

What if...?  It's a tall order but isn't this what being a Christian is all about?  Aren't we called to greater glory?  I know that it will be hard and that I will falter more times than I wish to admit, but instead of feeling the martyr for attempting a brief respite from chocolate and the decadence of western life, I am choosing to truly die to self and live for Him.  I have been feeling so depleted, so run down, and over stretched.  My prayers have been for rest and solitude, for "me time," for vacation.  However, it is in weakness that the power of God is strongest.  As St John wrote, "He must increase as I decrease."  There is no rest apart from God, my sights are set on Heaven, His Yoke I sling over my shoulder and pledge to work for Him alone. My God, I am all in!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Five Favs: Free Lenten Studies

This may be my shortest #5Favs post ever.  I am trying out a number of online studies and mini-studies this Lent and they are really focusing my Lent in the right direction.  Here is my list of favorites, most are completely free.  Enjoy! (Linking up with Ashley)


Matthew Kelly's Best Lent Ever
Matthew Kelly is one of my all time favorite, Catholic authors.  His books will ignite a fire in even the coldest hearts.  If you don't have much time to read, though, try out his online Best Lent Ever program.  Each day two short videos, a reflection, and action plan are delivered to your email.  It takes about five minutes to read, watch, and reflect on the teaching of the day.  Even the busiest of us have five minutes to give to growing in faith.  There is still time to sign up, so do it today.

The Wild Goose
I am just starting this study and do not think that I will finish before Easter, but I am so excited that my friend shared it with me.  The study consists of a growing list of videos, each around 35 minutes long.  There is also a study guide, as well as other resources.  The cinematography is breathtaking and the message of the role of the Holy Spirit invigorating.  Did I mention it is free?  Absolutely free.  This would be a wonderful study to do in a small group or just within your family.  Everything you need is right there, all you need is about an hour per session.  Sign up anytime through the Wild Goose webpage and set you soul on fire.

The Bible and the Virgin Mary
Let's say your time budget is really small.  Could you spare about 6 hours over the entire season of Lent?  Or do you want to know more about Mary so that you can defend the Catechism of the Catholic Church and grow in appreciation for Our Blessed Mother?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, this is the study for you.  Delivered to your Inbox in 12 segments (about two per week), this video study from the St Paul Institute is another beautifully crafted addition to any Lenten journey. Truly the films are breathtaking in sight and knowledge.  If you choose to delve deeper, free video participants receive free shipping on any order of the companion workbook.  Please check it out today!

Bishop Barron's Lenten Reflections
Bishop Barron is a dynamic preacher and solid theologian.  He has a depth of knowledge and insight that will draw you deep into the faith, but is able to present it all in a way accessible to anyone.  The Bishop's reflections are delivered each day to your email and correspond to the the relevant Gospel readings of the week.  With these reflections, you will pick apart the Temptation of Christ over a span of days and have a renewed insight into what these temptations truly meant not only in Biblical context but in the whole of salvation history.  There is still time to sign up for free!


Father Gaitley's 33 Days to Morning Glory
This is an exciting study that leads to a total consecrations to Mary.  You will not only be drawn to closer devotion to Mary and greater understanding of her role in God's Great Plan, but you will also learn about a collection of saints that were influenced by Our Lady and the fruits of that devotion.  I am currently doing this in a small group via  While is only free to members, the $9.99 per a month cost would easily be paid for just be this one study.  I am blessed to have a free membership through our parish.  The study on includes all the retreat materials ready to print or read online, the entire book 33 Days to Morning Glory and Multiple videos each week of Father Gaitley teaching the principles of the consecration.  It is the perfect length for Lent, lasting about 6 weeks.  
What are your favorite resources online to enrich your Lenten journey?

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Walk Through My Week

To all those blogging, homeschooling mamas out there who manage to post regularly all the time, kudos to you! I don't know how you do it because I seem to be struggling to keep up with everything.  So, while I had at least three posts in mind for this week, this is the only one you are getting, dear readers.  There's always next week, right?  {Little Man's new desire to "help" with typing hasn't really made posting easy either.  When I posted my To-Don't List, I went back and re-read it and realized how many typos were in there. Ouch!  Between dodging those blonde locks and ten extra fingers on the keyboard, my editing skills were non-existent.  So, I apologize and hope that this post works out better.}  Linking up with Kelly.


I have mentioned before that I am working on another mother/daughter retreat series. This is actually going to published into a manual with all the talks, craft instructions, resources, and more.  It will be available through my etsy shop in late April.  If you would like a sneak peak, please become an email subscriber for a free sample file.  


As part of writing the mother/daughter retreat manual, I have been researching and gathering lists of resources for the girls and their moms.  I had planned on putting together a #5Favs post about places to find modest teen clothing--as you can see it didn't happen.  Now, I realize that modest teen clothing is almost an oxymoron these days, but I didn't realize just how hard it would be.  Many of the places advertising teen or tween clothes either had nothing for sale in that department or just a black skirt and a turtleneck.  So, I am still searching and hope to have the list up next week.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know.  I have found a few places, but am still in search of more every day clothing vendors--apparently formal wear is easier to come by.


Tuesday was Candlemas and we invited dear friends over to celebrate with us.  I decided to make these votive jars with the kids, except we used jars from the recycling bin.  I like that they are refillable and I had battery operated tea lights for the old kids to use when they want to light a candle for a special prayer request. They had a great time and the jars turned out so pretty.  We used prayer cards that I picked up from our parish store and the nice thing is the prayer on the back is still readable through the top of the jar.


After making the votive jars, we rolled some beeswax candles.  I contemplated making jar candles, but that seemed very complicated and pouring hot wax with very active little ones about seemed like a recipe for disaster.  I purchased two kits from Sunflower Candles.  The first made two candles and came with extra pieces of colored beeswax for decorations. The second kit made three tapered candles.  Ann is a wonderful shopkeeper, I have ordered from her in the past and am always satisfied.  She graciously included an extra ready made candle to use as a sample for the children.  The children were so creative with the colored beeswax and enjoyed that part of the craft time best. Aren't they lovely?


This Sunday we will bring our candles and candle holders to church to be blessed and try to light one of the candles each day when we pray the St Michael prayer and for special liturgical feasts, like Easter.  If rolled correctly, these little beeswax candles last a long time.


So, you know all those blogs with smiling children who pose beuatifully and look like magazine models?  Well, this isn't one of them.  I tried to get Buddy to display his votive jar in such a way, and this is what I got.  At least he is smiling, kind of.  Little Man had to get in on the act, too, with his cheesy picture smile.


I posted this on Facebook, but would like to ask again for prayers for Lizz.  My heartbreaks for her and her children.  I have thought a lot about having to say goodbye to my children and what their life would be like without me.  I have friends who have walked that road and I have marveled at how they handled it, but still questioned why God would take a young mother whose children need her so!  God has a plan, I know.  Please pray that this family will be wrapped in His Love and Protection, and if it be His Will may receive the miracle they so desperately need.