Category Archives: Loveletters/Food for thought

Good Friday…. Is the cross enough?

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Is the Cross enough? How do you feel about someone else paying the price for you?

How many times do we think about the Crucifixion?

How often do we look at the cross….really look?

For me, It’s a very hard thing to focus on. I try to avoid it as often as I can. I like to picture Jesus as the good looking “Surfer” Jesus…..or the Good Shepherd with the little lost sheep. However, focusing on only these aspects or depictions of Jesus is denying His true mission. He came to awaken the “dead”…..not just those who were physically dead but those who were also “dead” to the greatest commandment of Love. So many of the Pharisees were sticklers to the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law.

With all the crime shows that I enjoy and can watch, I can not stomach many of the scenes of “The Passion of the Christ”.  My eyes are full of tears…. I feel sick to my stomach…and  I’m a blubbering mess. Why? Because I am brought to my knees. The cross is a reminder of a love that I can’t fathom. It’s a reminder to me of a love far greater than I can return. A real reminder of the brutality of sin and the actions of those who do nothing.

And on Good Friday, I must face that bloodied face…..I must watch My Lord take up His cross….my cross….knowing that my sins nailed him there.

Is the cross enough….to change my life?????

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This lent I have been taking part in an online Lenten reflection with Redeemed Online.  It was set up by one of my friends from Franciscan University as a means to draw us closer to Christ this Lent. It was a series of 2-3 minute daily videos from Catholic speakers around the world. It was just what this overwhelmed, tired momma needed. A video that came right to my email and could set up my day with Christ. The latest video was from a personal friend who runs the Dirty Vagabond Ministries. Please take a second to check out all the amazing work my friend, Bob is doing with his ministry after watching this video.

Ouch….that cuts deep. Bob is right. I’m one of those people in the crowd.

Too weak to live my life radically committed to Christ….

I wish I could be like St. John…..a pillar of strength for Our Lady. He never denied Christ. He was loving…he stood at the foot of the cross. He was not ashamed.

But scripture tells me that “God mercies are renewed every morning.” Today is a new day.

In fact, everyday is.

And I have time to recommit my life…and my heart.

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This picture captures the beauty of an hour of my morning.

A hot cup of vanilla tea…some beautiful Catholic music…..and some quiet time to focus on the cross.

It was the main meal for this hungry girl’s soul.

The children surprised us with “dessert”….. a beautiful rendition of the Stations of the Cross.

Jesus meets His Mother

Jesus meets His Mother

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem.

Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem.

Jesus is nailed to His cross.

Jesus is nailed to His cross.

He is alive!

He is alive!

Kids have such simple faith. They believe. They desire God. They trust that they are loved and desired by God. Watching their Stations play, helped remind me how simple Jesus’s message was: Love

Is the Cross enough?

Yes

…and it calls me to greatness.

It beckons my soul to seek to return such greatness…..

To love without hesitation or reservation.

What about you? Is it enough to change you?

God Bless,

Tammi

 

 

finding a piece of peace….

Have you ever craved the quiet? Longed for a silent retreat so you could clear your mind? Do you ever try and find that silence for yourself?

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 I don’t….

In fact, I spend much of my life at this pace. Totally crazy, high energy, lots of multi-tasking, late nights. I don’t take much time for myself. I don’t take much time for God to get a good, “one on one” with me.

But…that’s about to change.

I was talking with my middle child about being more ” present’ at Mass…as she is soon to receive her first penance and First Communion. I was speaking to her about how God speaks to us in the silence of our heart.

The silence of our heart.

What a beautiful concept….picturing our heart in the presence of the Lord…..

It made me realize that meditation and contemplation have to be taught. We need to teach our children to quiet themselves and allow God to speak to them. Do we provide opportunities for our children to be quiet, other than naps or bedtime? Sometimes it’s simply about making them work on their own.

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In order to begin this process with my kids, I need to instill more quiet time in our home…. Starting today.

My plan is to create an area or prayer corner in my home, an area where the children can relax and read a saint story or the little girls can finger the rosary beads and pray. However, until that happens, I need to offer my children opportunities for quiet.

Today was just about everyone getting an hour of quiet time to themselves.

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Mini Me fell asleep rather quickly behind the couch.

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The Fashionista set up herself with some Disney princesses pretty quick.

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Sweet Pea went right to her room for a little Laura Ingles Wilder.

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I found DDD building lego stuff inside his closet.

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And well…..I was DEFINITELY making use of this time as well. After some quick prayer time, I just took some time to bask in the silence and got in a little nap myself.

Silence is so important for our mind. It’s so important for us to remove the distractions of this world from our presence. To just sit in the presence of the Lord. We don’t need to be in adoration to place ourselves in the presence of the Lord. We just need an open heart and ears ready to listen.

It’s so important that we teach our children how to desire the quieter moments as well.

My hope is that this Sunday hour of silence will just be a “seed” that I plant within their heart.

That this “seed” will grow as they grow.

As the year continues, and our prayer corner is established, my prayer is that my children will come to desire silence and seek it in their prayer life.

God bless,

Tammi

Preparing for Lent…Let’s clean house…..

I need Lent….no…seriously….no laughing… I NEED lent….

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like a runner needs water….

like a tired momma needs her wine at the end of the day….

This momma gets worn out…

After the excitement of the holidays, I start to drag and evidentially end up in survival mode….

I go from “I should wake up early to workout” to “How long can I sit here until I NEED to make dinner?” I love my family but the daily grind of being a mom, housewife, and homeschooling mom can really wear on me during the cold winter days…..

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The Church, in her wisdom, knows that around February…this momma needs to work on her “inner house”.  At this point, it’s hardly liveable……It’s kinda like that junk drawer that you know you need to clear out, or the basement you think about as you just close the door behind you. The Church is like that dear friend that comes over to help you “clear out your closet”…..you complain and stress about her coming over, but then you feel so good as you tackle stuff together. It’s that love/hate relationship that we have with growth…..we procrastinate starting it…..cry and struggle through it….and at the end, we ask ourselves what took us so long to get started.

So….I’ve done the “procrastinating thing” all year or the “kicking and screaming thing” like the photo above with DDD. But…now momma’s ready to “clean house”. (Got my rag on it…let’s do this…haha)

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Very similar to the cleaning of my physical house, I gotta work on the same things. The dust, and crumbs are replaced by….yelling and procrastinating. Scrubbing toliets and mopping floors….with being quick to anger, and lacking in kindness….and just writing them makes me feel terrible. However, like I tell the kids, you have to “own” your mistakes, be truly sorry, and ask for forgiveness. I’m not the mom that I should be. I’m not the mom God has called me to be.  And…..let’s be honest, I can read a billion blogs that will tell me that “I work hard enough” and that “being a mom is tough”, or that I “shouldn’t be so hard on myself, because we all fall short”. And those words, and those “voices”, stunt my growth. They are lies, that our society feeds off of……so that none of us “feel bad”.

But this morning, I also sat learning from myself…..somebody that I knows “gets me”. haha. I re-read some of my old Lenten blogs….You can delve into them yourself here and here. It’s somewhat humbling to read the blogs that I wrote last year or two years ago and I am still struggling with the same stuff. However, isn’t that what sin is? Struggling with the same vices over the over? As much as I would love to just “fast” from chocolate or wine, I know that the Church is calling me to a greater “fast” that only I can pinpoint.

This Lent I’m not running from my vices…I’m owning them. I desire change. Now whether or not I completely conquer my vices is not important…it is the daily effort that will change me. I desire to be a walking example of the mom I want to be and the person that others, who love me, deem that I am. So my 40 days begins, and the evolution starts.

My” tomorrow” starts today.

And just as the walk to Calvary was long and painful, I know this Lent will be too. I will need to increase my prayer time, and “arm” myself for the various situations that will present themselves this Lent.

May your embrace your vices this Lent and seek real change. My prayers are with you!

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2015….a year for some changes…and some honesty..

. A new year…. New chances to change things up….

a new year to make new memories…and embrace the joys of the previous year.

I have to say that I love my life.

I love being married to my best friend. I enjoy watching him destroy me in monopoly; do his “victory” dance when I make balsamic chuck roast for dinner; and bickering with him over anything and everything. He truly brings such joy to our home!

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I love being a SAHM and homeschooling my five kids.

I love the madness that is my everyday life…..

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Well….maybe there is some room for improvement in that area…..

Come on…there’s always some room for growth, right??!!

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(I mean…check out Miss Missy….she’s ready to jump into whatever January offers!!)

SO…this January I was ready….full of all these great ideas to implement. And….I’m happy to say we are halfway through January, and I’m still plugging away. I’m dragging the kids along with me…kicking and screaming.  haha.

The hubs has his reservations, I’m sure, but he’s always “on board” if it means more order in the house. Somehow they don’t have the same zeal that I do for household domination; food efficiency, and schedule rearrangement.

SO with that….let’s jump right into 7 quick takes……7 changes for our household for 2015:

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1.) Consistency/Scheduling

One of the things you can probably pick up on, by reading my blog, is that I’m super inconsistent. I can blog three times in one week…and then not blog again for two weeks. It’s not a “virtue” people, just the truth.   I have all the best intentions……but actually sitting down to write a blog…or do anything on a regular basis is not my “thang”. However, with a husband in software sales with travel, and five kids who are gaining more activities, consistency seems synonymous with sanity. So…this year I’m giving it a whirl. I’m having set “responsibilities” for each day of the week. Three or Four “chores” for each day on top of my daily responsibilities. I’m hoping that this will prove beneficial for our family. Here’s to hoping it comes easier than I think.

I even started the kids back up on this chore system. Each day they complete their tasks, such as making their beds, getting dressed, completing homeschooling assignments, and then they have to move their clothespin to the other side upon completion.  The back of the clothespin says, “finished” with a smiley face.  Instead of “nagging” the children about tasks, I simply can look at their chore chart, and see what they have left to finish. I have additional “clothespins” that I add for Saturday chores, as well as clothespins that offer cash upon completion.

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2.) Less Spending….Better Stewards of our money

I finally bit the bullet and am taking control of our finances. I think my husband may just have a heart attack from excitement. I am embarrassed to admit that, although I am aware of what we “spend”, I have never made any attempt to “plan” the spending of our money. I am finally making use of the Dave Ramsey budgeting envelopes that I bought a few years ago. I have some big goals for the crushing of our debt and the saving for a large vacation fund. Stay tuned for more blogging on this one!

3.) Menu planning

150 crockpot meals! Menu planning for a month! I see these phrases all the time in my Pinterest feed. And…they scare me. Why? Because I’m afraid of eating “can of_________” dishes all the time. I’m a “foodie” and I love to eat. I love to search Pinterest for inspiring dinner dishes and gourmet desserts to bring to parties. However….many an afternoon, I can be found scratching my head wondering what to serve for dinner. So…this year, I’ve decided to work somewhere in the middle.  I am going to be planning three meals a day and one snack for two weeks at a time. My kiddos are already gripping the refrigerator handle , fighting for their right to “eat more snack”…haha. They are NOT HAPPY about the lack of “free reign” of the fridge in the afternoon. I keep telling them that it’s going to be a process….for them and me! However, my intention is to be able to spend less time in the kitchen and the grocery store line. Thus far, Sweet Pea, my oldest, has made many of the snacks for our crew by just reading what is listed.

4.) More prayer….more scripture:

One of the greatest things I did was purchase The Magnificat  app on my iPhone this fall. It has been wonderful to start my mornings with prayer before I even get out of bed. However, I have noticed that often my kids wake up in a bad mood and it quickly sets the tone for the day.  With the notion of a “new start” in 2015, I wanted to refocus our day and remind the kids of who “governs” our homeschool.  The children and I eat breakfast and then meet in our school room for prayer. We discuss the feast day, if there is one, and then ask for prayer intentions. One child also asks to lead personal prayer and then we end with singing the St. Michael prayer. The kids love “testing” themselves with our weekly scripture memorization as well.

It’s so important, to my husband and I, that our children turn to the scriptures for advice and counsel. We want our kids to really know scripture and for reading scripture to be apart of their daily prayer life.

5) Expectations clearer

I used to be really good about having rules and expectations posted in my house. As I had more kids, I moved away from the signs and charts that use to adorn my walls. I am realizing that my kids really do seek order. They need to visually see my expectations for them. So….it looks like  signs like these are coming back!!!!!

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6.) Mom’s Hour

Sometimes…I just can’t hear “MOOOOOOOOM!” one more time. I’m just “done” and I need my kids to be independent. I have felt pretty guilty about this for some time but I began to realize that I, too, need a break. I need a “time out” from the mom hat….the teacher hat….I need to just “be”….and before bedtime routine.

So from 3:30-4:30, I have started sending my kids in the basement for some playtime. It doesn’t matter if they fight me, I’m ok with them not wanting it. I am even ok with them sitting on the stairs, for the entire hour, in rebellion. For that hour, I veg in front of the TV, have a  snack, make business calls, take a nap, check FB….anything that allows me to chill out. It’s just the reprieve I need to get to bedtime having been at their beck and call all day. It’s a great way for me to get some personal space. Try it….I highly recommend it!!!

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7.) Less Yelling…more Peace

It’s so simple. I hate yelling….but I’m a yeller. It drives my husband insane.  I know that I have a temper, and I hate to lose control. The only way to stop the yelling, is to gain more control over myself and my situations. I need peace in my home.  My kids need gentle reassurance about the right choices. My kids need a mom who understands, explains, ,and grows with them.

I’m really excited for all these little changes that will ultimately better me as a mom and help my family grow closer to Christ, and stronger together.

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Challenge accepted……bring it 2015!!!!

God bless,

Tammi

Everyday…….

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“I will always love you”…

Everyday……every moment…..

a daily commitment….

The hubs recently hung this photo and sign up in our bedroom.  We have been meaning to hang it for some time now and finally got it done last week.

I’m not a huge “selfie” person….but this I love this picture.

I had to hang it up because I want to look at it as often as possible.

And the story behind this photo is pretty cool….

We hired a professional photographer about two years ago. He was a former colleague of my husband’s and was looking to get some more families photographed. We had never done this before and we were excited for him to capture the true “nature” of our family. Well, the hubs and I were watching the photographer take several pictures of the kids “frolicking” in the fall leaves. It was a photo I had requested so I was eager to see how it would turn out. As we watched the kids throw up the leaves and catch them, the hubs leans over me and wraps his arms around me. “Can we believe all those kids are ours? I love them so much”, he says. “I know.” I said.
At that moment, the photographer turns around and shouts, “Tammi”…..I look as he snaps a picture of us sharing that moment.

It’s one of the reasons I love this picture so much. It’s not staged. We weren’t “positioned”. It was just “us” loving our vocations in life. It’s our facial “yes” to our life together. It’s taking a brief moment to celebrate our life together…and the five little blessings created from that love.

We all need reminders….we create lists. We set alarms on our phones.

Let’s make sure we also fill our homes with reminders of love.

Let’s also remember what we are committing to daily..

Are you a fighter?

Part Two: Are you a fighter?

God bless,

Tammi

Today’s Loveletter……..

***** a post I wrote yesterday but forgot to publish!********

Somedays are just not fun……

I usually joke about a “having a glass of wine at night” kinda day but to speak honestly, there are some days when I could hide a flask in my back jean pocket.

Do you think that’s terrible???!!  Me too…..

But…it’s the truth.

Somedays it’s purely the little “prayers” that I sigh under my breath that get me though the day.

“Lord, please….if she rolls her eyes ONE MORE TIME…I will lose my mind.”……..

“Could you please, dear God, infuse her with holy wisdom for Math, I can not calmly explain this problem again.”

“Mother Mary, grant me patience….right now!!”

“Lord, have mercy”….

Don’t you wish that when you woke up you would somehow be forwarned about how your day would go….

Prepare yourself……you will get run over by a dump truck……well…at least you will feel like that. You will lose your patience 25 times today but, successfully, no one will be harmed in the process. Kids will be fed and land safely in bed.

Yep….it would sound something like that…haha.

I woke up this morning unaware that I had to take my son to get fitted for his new orthodontic “wear”…kinda wish I had known that when I let myself sleep in that “extra” 30 minutes.

Toss on the old yoga pants and tshirt and time to get ready to walk out the door.

I quickly jotted down a few assignments for the other children to work on while I grabbed the two year old and my son to head off to the orthodontist.

I wasn’t prepared to be coaxing my son through getting his “molds” made….trying to prevent him from throwing up…

10:30 am was too early to be holding a bowl in front of my son as he dry heaved….sigh…..

I received no “heavenly notifications” that when Sweet Pea was standing up hanging art pictures on our “art line”, that she would fall off the chair and break three out of the four legs on the chair.

And as the men were hammering on the new construction home going up next store, I had to wonder how much sleep my kids were actually getting and what time this construction actually began each day.

By the time, Miss Missy came up from the basement, crying that she had fallen down several stairs as she displayed a bloody nose, I was fearful of what the rest of the day had in store for me.

But….God in His Infinite Wisdom knew I could use a nice “loveletter” today.

A little “hang in there I’m still walking with you daily” kinda note.

And for me…it came in the form of a beautiful ten year old asking to make dinner.

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As I sat on the couch, computer in my lap, multiple lists of things to do in front of me, the thought of dinner made me cringe.

I really need to finish all this stuff……can we just order pizza?

While I was thinking “Spagetti”, Sweet Pea had bigger aspirations.

Lucky for me, Sweet Pea had “pinned” this baby on her “things to accomplish” board on Pinterest.

With all the ingredients in the pantry and fridge, it was perfect!!!!

 Parmesan Crusted Porkchops

After showing her how to make brown rice, a homemade brown gravy; and steaming some broccoli….dinner was done and delicious!!!!

So thankful for the “little break” in my routine.

What a blessing to have children who know how to bless their momma!!!

God bless,

Tammi

A slow return……to Fall…

I haven’t blogged in so long. It’s not because I lack things to talk about. It’s actually the opposite. I’ve been enjoying the beauty of trying to “unplug” and enjoy my kids this summer. As much as I love homeschooling, much of what I do during the school year is the opposite of my personality. In the summer, I can dawn the hat of “fun, spontaneous mom” that I love. No lesson planning, no set days of schoolwork, no lists to check off, no threats over completing math problems, no stressing over days filled with hours of activity…..and I love it!!!

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I love deciding to have dinner at the pool, or having ice cream for lunch. I love cuddling with the kids in my bed and laughing about their antics. I love the HOURS my kids get to play with nonstop interruption for an academic lesson. I love the countless “concerts” and “performances” that I get to watch from my couch….hours of taping the kids fun episodes on my iphone. I love the lack of responsibility that summer brings…and I know that in order to have balance I need that. I need that “down time” so that I can conquer the next school year. However, as the summer draws to a close, I am having a much harder time this year with embracing this new “season” in my life…..with embracing the upcoming school year.

I have so much to share with you that has been a part of my life this summer. I want to fill you in on our big road trip to New England, on all the personal growth I have undergone, and life with five growing kiddos…. but my heart can’t get pass the feelings that I am overcome with right now.

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How everything that is filling my mind is just…. not important…..

that’s how I feel. I am beginning to question:

What are my priorities in this life?….am I fulfilling them?

And it’s beginning to affect everything that I am doing.

I wake up thinking about it…and go to bed with the same thoughts. Why do I have to pay bills? How important is this schoolwork?  Why is it so tough for me to make God a priority in my life? I feel that the Lord is calling me to re-evaluate everything that is important and that I value as important in my life.

Suicide of famous actors. Abortion. The death of thousands of children in the mountains of Iraq. Earthquake in China. Riots in Missouri. Journalist John Foley’s death. Countless stories of moms and dads abusing their children. The ISIS reign of terror…..

The news just seems to inundate me daily. I can’t avoid it….My facebook newsfeed is full of horrific stories of tragedy….personal friends begging for prayers……many of my friends having full debates about the ISIS situation…..

I start to feel so burdened….so sad…..somewhat hopeless. I start wondering where God is? Why hasn’t He intervened???? But have I invited him?…….Like Peter during the storm, I need to cry out to the Lord to help me….

Lord, have mercy.

How do I immerse myself in prayer for these situations without leading myself into despair? How do I go about my day with my morning vanilla chai and my morning prayer, when there is such uncertainty in the world right now? How can I unite my sufferings with so many, Lord?

Christ, have mercy.

I guess I need to fall on the mercy of our faith.  To remember that we are community of believers. That when the “body of Christ” suffers, all of its members suffer. To turn to the Lord and ask him what he is asking of me.

What is my role in all of this?

I believe that this question will be a daily prayer for me.

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed”.

I can honestly say that the current state of events has really changed the way that I think, especially about attending Mass on Sunday. What a privilege to worship the Lord so freely??!! I can’t imagine that freedom being taken away…… How many times have I laid in my bed from a late night and wince at the idea of heading out to Mass? It’s embarrassing to admit but…I’ve been there. How many times was I sick or one of the kids under the weather and I was annoyed at having to find a late Mass to attend or having to go to separate Masses with the hubs? The truth is…until you are denied this basic right…you will exploit it. You will take it for granted. The Lord is showing me that my faith is the greatest gift that He has given me. I must cherish it and put it at the for front of my life.

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The hubs and I have also decided to take another look at our budget, to make sure that we are being good stewards of our money. Are there areas that we are just wasting money? Can we be blessing more people than we are? We also have started to talk to our children about the frivilous use of words like “starving” or “needs”. Our children are privileged on so many levels but we need them to really see their blessings and be more appreciative of what they have.

We also feel a greater challenge, as parents, to raise a new generation of martyrs. Does that sound crazy to you? It scares the heck out of me….but I need to prepare my kids little souls for greatness! They need to know that NOTHING is worth their soul.

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We have had plenty of time over the last few weeks to discuss the children who were fleeing in the mountains in Iraq. We have talked about their poor parents who sent them to die of hunger rather than death by the enemy. We have talked about offering our holy communions up for those souls who live in fear, that the Lord may be with them in a special way. This is a beautiful time in our Church to teach our children about present day martyrs as we continue to focus on the lives of the saints and the examples they have taught us.

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It’s also a great time to cling to our faith and remember that God IS, has always been; will always be!! The greatness of our God overweighs whatever evil will try and rob us of our peace.

I will end this post with one of the MOST inspiring performances that I have heard……

Carrie Underwood just really sings from the heart in this one….

During your tough or low times this week, may you always remember how much you are loved and cared for by the Lord.

 God bless,

Tammi

Pick your poison….and than purge your life of it.

We recommend parents and caregivers eliminate hidden household poisons ...

(First of all, I want to thank the Lord for this onset of the stomach flu today that led to the creating of this blog. Obviously, I was suppose to write it. )

Poison…..

We often think of poison as something that we ingest “accidentally” or that someone else gives us to cause us harm…

However….we can introduce our own poisons in our life….

identifying them…can be life changing…

How do I know? …..

Let’s talk about the ones I am trying to get rid of this Lent……

  1. Ranting- When I told the “crew” that I was giving up ranting over dinner the other night, Sweet Pea asked “what is ranting?” My answer: “you know…when you do something like complain about your Saxon classwork and instead of saying ‘Please…just do your work’, I say something like “Seriously??!! Do we have to do this everyday?? Am I going to hear you complain about that everyday? You have no idea how blessed you are to have a mom that has…….yada yada yada. She got the idea…real fast.  haha. Needless to say, she agreed that this was probably a good thing for me to give up.
  2. Justification– yeah…I said it. I like to call it “bullshitting your way out of reality”. haha. Yeah…I said “bullshitting”…I feel that strongly about it. Listen….I know the truth…whether I practice it in my life or not does not make it less truthful. Its when we “allow” ourselves to do something because we feel it can be justified. It’s ok if I talk bad about this person because I am really trying to find a way to help him/her. It’s ok if I steal a few office supplies from the office for my home because I can’t afford to buy this with my own money. It’s ok if I yell at my kids and verbally abuse them, because they drive me crazy. We all do this in some way and it creates “toxins” in our soul and mind. It prevents us from being the true person the Lord intends us to be. It takes away from the “greatness” within us.
  3. Feeling sorry for ourselves. Yep….step up your game! You only have to turn on the news to feel better about your family, your job, your husband, your kids, your country, etc. Snap out of it!!! (I’m yelling at you!!!!!!….like only someone who cares can) There are plenty of people who are praying to be in your situation….to have a loving husband who cares……to HAVE children……to be able to eat daily……. If you are reading this, and thinking to yourself…”I know all this” and yet you still are feeling sorry for yourself…pray for humility to really see your life with new insight. Ask the Lord for help.

* Now for the next few….I’m going to refer you to a blog post I wrote last year.*

Last year???!!!

I’m sure you are thinking that……(I did)

And I can humbly say that when I read my post from last year I thought….”wow….guess I didn’t realize how difficult those things are for me since here I am working on them again this Lent”. But…..that is true in most areas of my life….I am that hamster on a wheel plugging away but it is with God’s grace that I continue to battle those areas.

You can read about those here.

Wishing you a tough and yet peaceful Lent.

God bless,

Tammi

Touched by His Light- the project

I am a “thinker”….I always have a billion ideas bouncing around my head. It’s unreal what I could produce given an endless supply of money and time.

But…let’s not share that piece of information with my husband who would just be happy if I finished SOMETHING I started or STARTED something I “envisioned”.

I used to get projects “started” and then never finish them….like the baby blanket that I was still working on 3 years after the birth of my niece. When she had her 5 yr old birthday, I tossed that thing. haha.

However, sometimes I feel very convicted about a project or an idea and I just KNOW that God is calling me to do His Will and bring the project to fruition.

Touched By His Light

is just one of these ideas.

Well…not really an “idea” but.... a movement…..

an opportunity to “rekindle” the fire of the Catholic Church.

Are you intrigued???

Are you feeling this same pull in your life?

Touched-By-His-Light-Cards-LOGOFor a few years, I have been working on instilling certain virtues in my children….one that I consider extremely important is generosity. I want my children to always be reminded that work itself is a blessing. I often remind my children how “blessed” we are that “daddy has a great job and makes good money to take care of us”. We speak often of using our money to help the less fortunate and those around us who need our help.

Over the past few years, the children have helped me go shopping to send “goodies” to college nieces and nephews. We have often given cash to numerous strangers or paid for some groceries. This year we delivered diapers, wipes, and numerous baby needs to some moms at a pregnancy center. It is my belief that I should teach my children that we are the hands and feet of Christ. If we see a need, we need to fill it.

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St. Paul tells us in the scripture to “be able to give a reason for  your joy”. This is a bible verse that I refer to a lot when I am discussing with the children the joy that we should exhibit as Christians…..

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Often when I am helping a complete stranger, I walk away as I see them cry or rejoice in this little “gift” they have just received. I know it can be uncomfortable taking cash from someone, or having them do something nice for you…but often times I have wanted to say…

God loves you….you are his!”

but..I hesitate because of the randomness of this chance meeting.

Shouldn’t they know that God sent me to find them?

Shouldn’t they know that I believe that God has great plans for them??

This has been weighing heavily on me this past fall and into this winter. I could tell you countless stories of people who have expressed their “thanks” by explaining their present situation… recounting stories of unemployment; being left by their spouses; and just “depressed” with where life has them.

What if we could restore hope?

Touched by His Light is an “action based” movement. It’s a call to action. A call to see a need and fill it.

I reached out to Sarah at Three Roses design on etsy to help me design a card that I could hand out along with money, gift cards, etc. Sarah…did not disappoint. I was humbled by her willingness to provide me with the template for free. So here it is:

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My children and I have printed out several copies of these cards on cardstock and we carry them in our van. When the opportunity arises, we can pull out a card and share our faith with someone as well….but with no words at all. “Preach the Gospel…and if necessary use words.”- St. Francis of Assisi.

Those who have opened their hearts to God’s love, heard his voice and received his light, cannot keep this gift to themselves.”

 This quote from Pope Francis’s newest encyclical seemed to be the perfect addition to these cards. What a beautiful way to verbalize the need for our church members to spread the message of Christ’s love and do what we can to help others come to Christ…..to be a source of love in their tough time. The facebook page was added as a way that people could  share their “story” about receiving one of these cards.

www.facebook/Touched by His Light

My hope is that, as the movement grows,…to provide resources on the facebook page as well.

If this has touched your heart in some way, I would ask that you join me in taking part in this. Simply print out some cards for yourself…and bless those in need.

If you are looking for some suggestions on possible ways to “touch” someone with “His Light”:

  • buy the food for the person in line behind you at the drive thru.
  • offer to help someone with their groceries to the car.
  • deposit $1.00 bills around your neighborhood dollar store with cards attached.
  • get extra cash back after you pay for your groceries, and hand it to the person behind you.
  • pay a few parking meters
  • grab a few coffees or a box of joe and drop them off to workers who are working outside (construction workers, road workers, etc.)
  • leave some yummy treats in your mailbox for the mailman.
  • leave a thoughtful message on the windshield of several cars in a parking lot.
  • send your kids to shovel several sidewalks or driveways in the neighborhood.
  • bring a dinner or diapers over to a new mom.
  • take your kids shopping for groceries for a food bank.

As long as there is a need….there should be people willing to fill it. I urge you to join me in finding the need in your family, in your neighborhood, and in your community…..and bring Christ to them!

Thank you for opening your hearts to this venture.

May God bless you!

Tammi

And then…reality smacks ya….

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Miss Missy sneaking some of my morning smoothie!

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

A friend of mine had this on their Facebook status yesterday.

And….It spoke…volumes to me…

Mostly…because I’ve been struggling with this notion of comparing.

We compare our houses to others….we compare our children….we compare our parenting….we compare our faith walks……everything.

And…if we look hard enough…

we lose track of who we are and the blessings that are around us.

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Obviously….this would NEVER make a pinterest photo. Crazy kid faces….a messy counter….but this is reality in my house!!!

In the blogging and Pinterest world, everything looks “perfect”.

Well…it is. Alot of it is “staged”.

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I spent a few weeks gathering all the outfits for this picture. I spent about two hours getting everyone prepared for this photo session. I enlisted numerous bribes for smiles. haha. Get my point…

You want to have someone “click” on your chocolate chip cookie recipe so you set up 3 beautiful cookies on a shiny white plate and gently “scatter” chocolate chips around. You make sure that the camera doesn’t capture the three kiddos who are eating ice cream for dinner as you perfect this image or the pile of dishes this simple picture has created for you.

But…”yummy….they look divine”….so we “pin” that to our dessert board.

We grow frustrated if our cookies don’t look quite like those…..we throw ourselves into the “pinterest fail” category.

Ok…so I’m being a bit dramatic…but you get the point.

Stop Comparing yourself!!!!

Take some time to really look inward and be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. If you are not the “baking” type, you aren’t going to produce those “picturesque” cookies on the first try.

And…let’s not set ourselves up for failure…..baby steps, people!

So…..I came late to the “blogging party”. I have only been blogging for a year.

Do you know why???

Because I was concerned with how people would perceive my family and I. I want people to read my blog and laugh at the fun our family has. I want my readers to grab a few tips; enjoy some yummy recipes; and get some of my insight into being a mom for 9 years of little kids.

Do you know what I don’t want????

People to look at my blog posts and have unrealistic expectations of how I am as a person and how I run my family.

I remember reading the blogs of some “crafty, DIY” moms and thinking…how do they find time to do all this?? What’s my problem? Why am I not doing this?

It’s often an unhealthy “she’s unreal and can do ANYTHING” view ” that we have of our bloggers.

Blogging is such a wonderful tool to share our thoughts and gifts with each other….

but…it’s also a pathway of destruction for our self-esteem if we let it.

If you find yourself being motivated by pinterest projects and organizational blogs that you read….then read on!!!

However….if reading the blogs of other moms makes you feel terrible about yourself….take some time away from reading blogs.

Reevaluate yourself honestly.

Ask others who know and love you what your strengths and weaknesses are. If they love you, they will be honest with you. Embrace who you really are….and if you desire change…..

then change for YOU!

I want to apologize if any of my blog posts gave the impression that I “have it all together” or that I have “written the book on life with five children”…..trust me, my friends….

I’m just running the race like the rest of you.

We might put on different outfits, lace up different shoes…

but we all run the same race called

……life.

Thank you for taking this journey with me!

God bless,

Tammi