Embracing silence….

Every lent I feel like God works on a different part of my spiritual walk. This year was no different. Not that my Lents before were not good or not productive but I felt that God was honoring my desire to go a little “deeper” this year.

When I sat in prayer contemplating my Lenten plan, I heard God say very clearly that for Lent I was suppose to give up idle noise…and embrace little periods of silence.

What does that mean?

How is that going to change me as a person?

What will I say when people ask what I gave up for Lent? Will I be embarrassed by my little gesture?

Is that enough?

All those thoughts didn’t matter in the long run.

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Over the past year, the Lord has been creating a Spirit of Obedience in me. He has been showing me how obedience pleases Him, even if I don’t fully understand the why behind His Ways. He just gives His permission to ask the How……

So I prayed for the practical applications of this Lenten sacrifice, and like our Lord always does… he provided.

There would be times that I went to turn on the radio by myself, and I would hear Him say, “Talk to me.”

I would be in the middle of watching a netflix show, and He would call me into a moment of silence.

The children would often come over to me sitting on the couch and say “Are you ok, mom?”…..they were beginning to notice how often these little quiet moments would happen throughout my day.

Head tilted back, eyes closed…clearing my mind…..

Each moment of silence would fill me with peace….like breathing out a deep sense of relief.

Often times the Lord would place someone on my heart to text or call…..

Sometimes he would build upon a bible verse or spiritual truth I had been working on.

He showed me, very clearly, how much I need more silence.

How our constant “background noise”……. silences Him.

How I had been begging  him to “talk to me”…..and his response was to spend time in silence so I could hear His voice.

Our God is a God of peace……He speaks into the peace of our hearts.

Spend some time today contemplating how you can add silence into your week.

It seems like such a crazy notion…..but we need moments of silence.

Take a walk………in silence.

Sit outside….or on a park bench…..in silence.

Observe the beauty of nature around you……in silence.

“And when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

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In light of this new insight, I will be delving into this book by Cardinal Sarah. I’m super excited to continue this journey and see where the Lord is leading me. Join me!

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Embracing the empty tomb….

Join us in celebrating some of our favorite Holy Saturday traditions!

Chasing time and Drinking wine

It’s Holy Saturday, and as I sit here in the quiet, I’m embracing the tomb. The huge stone rolled in front of a tomb that holds my Savior.

I’m drawn to the thoughts and feelings of those Apostles.

What just happened? This man that we loved, who broke bread with us…that smile…that tenderness. How could He be taken from us?”

The bloody mess that they had to witness……the brutal beating that Christ endured. Watching someone whom you love crucified in front of you….all hope seems lost.

Jesus on the cross

I want my kids to enter in to the meaning of Christ’s death and the loneliness of the tomb.

In order to celebrate the Glory of the Resurrection, we have to truly experience the gloom of the tomb.

On Good Friday, a few years ago, the hubs and I decided to “shut down” normal activities of our home following the 3 o’clock service…

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Holy Thursday 2016: Lenten Tea

An old blog post about two of our favorite Holy Thursday Traditions!

Chasing time and Drinking wine

When I first started blogging, I was eager to share my ideas with other moms. I was eager to inspire other moms to get more involved and celebrate the liturgies of the Church in our homes. I love to celebrate holidays and liturgical events. With this in mind, I quickly found plenty of other blogger moms who had plenty of ideas to share with me as well. I have referenced Catholic All Year, Sole Searching Mama, and Sometimes Martha Always Mary, as three of these such bloggers.

Let me begin by saying that I love Holy Week. I try to set up my week by having Wednesday and Thursday be my cleaning and purging days. I wrap up all my schoolwork with the children on Wednesday. The children and I spend Holy Thursday cleaning our house and preparing for Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday! I…

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First Confession/Penance…making it meaningful

Next week my fourth child, Mini Me,  will make her First Penance. Other than her First Communion, this is the second best part of 2018 for her. I will confess that this same child has already tried several times to receive her first communion..haha. Thankfully the Holy Spirit had prompted me to look up, both times, and gently shake my head to the priest, as I moved her over to receive myself.

mini me and I

As I was going through my notes of what I need to plan to make this day special, I thought this might be a great way to link up with Kelly over at This Ain’t the Lyceum for 7 quick takes for this week.

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Sit down and talk with your child about this big event.

Open communication is a great way to discover how your child is feeling about this big event. It’s a great time to answer any questions or displace any fears that you might not have known about. We recently sat down and had a little tea about my daughter’s first confession. We went through the ten commandments and did a little “examination of conscience”. I showed her how each commandment can apply to something in her life. She was able to see what sins she may be struggling with.

Place the Act of Contrition prayer in several places throughout the house to help them memorize it.

This weekend I will be taping a copy of the Act of Contrition in my daughter’s bathroom, in our downstairs bathroom, above her desk in our school room, and on the door of our refrigerator. As a young child, I would often work on memorizing a prayer that my mom had in our bathroom as I brushed my teeth or washed my hands. I didn’t even know that I was doing it. I figured the same concept would work for my little one.

My plan is to encourage her to read over the Act of Contrition prayer before bed, in the morning, and several times throughout the day.

You can find this photo below to print out here. 

first penance act of contrition

Spend time rehearsing the events of the day. 

On Sunday after Mass, I will be giving my daughter a tour of the confessional in our church. She is homeschooled so this is not something that we have done yet, although it is often covered in CCD, PREP classes, or Catholic school.

Children can often make an event scarier than it needs to be in their mind. Therefore, we will spend some time showing her how to go in and close the confessional door. I will explain to her how the priest will push the screen to hear her confession. I want her to feel comfortable with kneeling on the kneeler in the dark and being able to remember her sins.

We will then go through the motions of her finding a quiet place in the church to complete the penance that the priest gives her.

I think this is also a great time to share with your son/daughter that other members of the family (including yourself) will be taking part in this sacrament as well. It is important that we stress that we should take advantage of this sacrament when it is available to us. 

Allow your child to pick a special dinner spot.

My children pick their favorite dinner spot only several times a year…one being their  birthday, or a special occasion like this. It’s always nice to celebrate the uniqueness of each child in this special way and the other children look forward to the mystery of what dinner will be.

In the past, we have often gotten the child some vanilla ice cream for dessert to celebrate the purity of the Sacrament that he/she just received.

Take plenty of pictures to capture the day.

This picture is one of my favorites. It really shows how focused little Sweet Pea was on this special moment in her life.

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This picture of the Fashionista just radiates her excitement of the wonder of being freed from sin. I remember her telling me “I can’t wait to now receive Jesus!”

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We make sure to get pictures of the child with their godparents, with our family, and often a picture of them holding their reconciliation certificate.

Try and select a small token gift that will have meaning for your child. 

first confession gift

This was a tradition that we started with our oldest, and has become a coveted tradition. We pick several symbolic gifts in a gift bag with this tag attached. The items change as does the symbols/virtues behind them so the children love to see what I have come up with. Additionally, we have also used white tic tacs to remind us that we are made pure as “white as snow”. You could also include a fun candy bar like “Mounds” of grace or “almond joy” of the sacrament.

Schedule confession on your family calendar, once a month, for the next 4-6 months so they can practice this Sacrament often. 

This is a huge goal of mine for this year. We have not done this in the past but have made a decision on a Sunday to attend our local shrine that has confessions right before Mass. However, this year I think it is important for the children to see it listed as an integral faith activity just like Sunday Mass.

Your child’s First Confession/First Penance is a beautiful day to cherish the graces of this sacrament.

I hope some of these suggestions will prove fruitful for you.

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Happy Feast of St. Francis De Sales!!!!

When I was traveling abroad as a college student, I went on a trip to Ars, France. As I learned about the Cure of Ars, St. John Vianney, I was startled by a quote from this amazing priest.  It was once said to have been out walking when he saw a man walking his dog across the street.  It was said that he stated, “If only your soul was as pure as your dog’s.”

Ouch…haha.

Needless to say, he was known for hearing confessions for hours.

As I continued my study abroad, my knowledge of the saints grew as I saw countless relics, birth places, shrines, and cathedrals to some of these amazing saints. I walked the same villages where they lived. I sat in the churches where they preached. I saw the fruits of the lives they lived.

Countless quotes spoke to my heart, that semester,  as I continued on my own faith journey.

As a young mom, I would open my old journal and often read through some of those quotes and allow them to speak Truth into my life.

My favorite quotes from St. Theresa of Avila and my favorite scripture verses adorn my bathroom mirror while I wash my face each morning.

So when I recently started the daily scripture readings with my children as part of their homeschooling curriculum, I thought it would be great to include some quotes from these saints on their feast days.

I share some of my favorite quotes of Mother Theresa here.

This quote by St. Francis De Sales spoke into my heart today:

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Such a beautiful reminder of how we can look for little ways to give in service of others for love of God.

How we love God is shown by how we love those he has given us in our life.

We love God by loving others. 

I love how my husband loves our children. They really are everything to him.

So when my son wanted to stop during our hike, and take a look at the huge drop off beyond this rock, I wanted to lose my mind.

Every fear for his safety surfaces.

You can imagine my peace when my husband grabbed his arm and said, ” I got you buddy. I won’t let you fall.”

It’s the little ways, like this, that we protect those around us.

The reassurance of a dad’s hand.

A mom’s comforting words after a rough disagreement with friends.

God calls us to walk this earth with “open eyes” seeking those people who need our help.

Showering our love in little ways that add up.

 

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My beautiful sister-in-law purchased this book for me and I have been reading through multiple pages today.

It’s such a source of wisdom. You can find a copy here.

In the words of St. Francis De Sales:

” What we need is a cup of understanding, a barrel of love, and an ocean of patience.”

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When the house of cards fall….

Linking up with http://www.Reconciledtoyou.com for their #worthrevisit…….
Here’s an old blog post worth looking at again.

Chasing time and Drinking wine

To say that things have been difficult lately, would be an understandment. It’s that time of the year….the homeschooling year is coming to a close and the “natives” are getting restless. One last three week stretch here of portfolios, testing, and finishing extracurriculars, and our summer will start.

But mentally,…..I’m done. Completely ready for the nearest beach, some sun, and always…a cocktail.

Add to that the recent health issues of the hubs, the struggles and pressure of having a traveling software sales husband, and all the extracurricular activities of the children, and I was completely overwhelmed. I was sitting amongst piles of laundry that beckoned, and food stuck on pots and pans that I had no energy to get to. For the first time in a while, no glass of wine or chocolate dessert was going to push me in the right direction.

For the first time, in a long…

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The gift of friendship…

I love when I find an old blog post in my “drafts” section that just NEEDS to be published….life gets busy and sometimes posts don’t get finished….so…here it is…..

The gift of friendship…

Priceless….

Inexpensive….

Today our family got to soak in the beauty of friendship and the joy of spending time with friends…

And it made me realize how much I miss the simple days of just hanging out with friends and family.

It made me realize how much I miss board games, and puzzles, and the simple joys of laughing with others.

I have realized, lately, how much I enjoy people. How much my heart yearns for fellowship and how much I enjoy loving people and sharing myself and my life with others.

I remember when my oldest was a baby, we used to spend countless weekends with our sister-in-law and her family. Pack n play stored in the trunk, we would set off for an evening of appetizers, and games. The little babies would each have their own bedroom in which we set up their pack n play until we snatched them up to go home. We played countless games of Charades, Passwords, Mafia, and cards.

However, as our families continued to grow, we overgrew the number of bedrooms needed, and our “get togethers ” became harder and harder with multiple children, schedules, and more siblings joining in.

I have fond memories of those times.

Today was such a gift to my family that I didn’t want it to end.

When I woke up this morning, all I could think about were the dishes that filled my sink , and were scattered around my counter.

The past two days had been a mess of quick meals, and long days of Godspell rehearsals and show times. The  house was beginning to show the effects of people who were still living there, but no one was cleaning up.

Reality check…I am not a super clean person. I don’t claim to be. haha.

To say it was overwhelming, would be an understatement.

After sending the kiddos off with their Saturday chore list, I hit the kitchen to tackle those dishes and mop the floor that was horribly overdue.

As I washed dishes, and blasted my Christian praise music, It was pretty relaxing to have a Saturday at home. It was nice to have a few moments of quiet while the kiddos worked diligently in the other rooms.

Then I got a quick text from a girlfriend who wanted to pick up a coupon that she needed.

Typically, I would just have one of the kiddos run the coupon out to her…however, I decided today to send a quick text back inviting her to hang out for a few minutes if she wanted.

What was suppose to be a quick “stop”, turned into a wonderful visit complete with a karaoke “sing off” with all the kiddos.

This afternoon was filled with laughter, and tons of smiles, and it was awesome.

It made me realize that I miss the simple days of hosting people.

Not the ” Pinterest success” type of hosting but the simple invitation for someone to come into your house and just enjoy your company.

I love that out-of-town friends will call and give me a “heads up” if they are in town. I love throwing a quick dinner date together for a college niece or nephew, and I love throwing a niece or nephew in my van for a sleepover or quick play date.

It’s not a sacrifice for me.

It’s pure joy.

It’s one of the ways that I love people. 

I cherish my friendships..and it’s something that I have clearly passed on to my children.

I love to see them walk with their arm around the shoulders of a friend.

I love seeing my teenager daughter laughing as she chats with her girlfriends on the phone.

I watch out the window as my son makes another nerf battle video with his neighborhood friend…and smile.

I love knowing that I have given my children the greatest gift in each other.

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As I think about friendship, the ultimate friend is one who will lay down their life for a friend.

I think about how amazing it must have been to be one of the Apostles.

To sit in the company of Christ.

How much joy that must have brought to those tired and restless hearts….

To sit, eat and drink with Christ whose very essence was love.

To feel the peace that His Spirit brought about in their souls.

To neglect sleep, and work only to sit and soak up all that He was.

At one point today, I looked around and everyone was laughing watching one of the kids sing…..

There is a beauty in being with people who are so genuine.

People who you see that radiate the love of Christ.

We are God’s gift to each other.

The body of Christ, the community of believers, who seek His face in each other.

Today was a beautiful gift to my family.

It is a beautiful gift to me.

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter. He whom has found one, has found a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance their worth.” – Sirach 6:14-15