Tag Archives: faith

Honesty…the Wings of Freedom

Honesty…..

It’s definitely a little “plant” that the Lord has been working on with me over the past month.

The “seeds” of this blog were planted during a conversation with one of the mothers at my monthly co-op. I had been making a point of trying to converse with her more this past year, as she seemed to be “hanging out” more than I remember in previous years. As we started to share with each other, I began to realize that I didn’t really know this woman at all. I had developed perceptions of who I thought she was…but I was wrong.

And all it took, was just talking to her.

Standing in front of her without judgement, two people willing to listen to whatever each other wanted to say. The two of us willing to share with each other, not concerned about what was going on around us. Just willing to listen.

It was about being able to say “wow, I didn’t know that about you at all. Thanks for sharing that about yourself”.

It’s about recognizing the vulnerability of the person who is trusting you with part of their heart.

Then a few nights ago, I was reading in my Blessed is She journal, and the beautiful Elizabeth Foss was discussing the notion of hypocrites and stated:

“God doesn’t ask you to be perfect, but he does want you to be honest”.

There it was again….

The “H” word…..honesty….

Ok, Lord….you got it…

I’ll write from my heart about honesty.

Why is it so hard for us to be honest with people?

I believe that it takes a lot of vulnerability, confidence, and holy boldness…….but I also believe that it gives us the wings of freedom.

Don’t you want to be free in your relationships???!!!

How many of us go to bed at night thinking I wish a had someone who truly understood me or maybe you think If people really knew the real me, would they still be friends with me?

People are attracted to genuineness and honesty.

A few years ago, I sat down with two of my sister-in-laws and confessed that I wasn’t being honest with them in our relationships. I told them that I often left family gatherings feeling frustrated by things that they said, or that I replayed conversations in my head for days. I confessed that I didn’t like feeling like I was “holding a grudge” about an earlier event but I also didn’t feel like I was being honest and things needed to change.

I think they were initially quite surprised, as they didn’t know I felt this way. I continued, adding that I was going to “speak my mind”, and I might start offending people but that I needed a different level of friendship with them, and it meant being able to be perfectly honest.

Over the next few months, some of my text messages were a little sassy at times. I spent time sending messages about my gratitude and appreciation for little loving gestures, and I enjoyed answering the text messages about “what I thought about__________”. These same sisters realized that my honesty was refreshing. They knew they could come to me for advice, and then could also hang up the phone and not wonder what my ‘real thoughts’ were on a subject we had discussed.

There was freedom for them in being able to talk to someone who would deliver honesty, and yet care about them.

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God wants us all to speak truth.

He wants others to be drawn to the freedom that we elude when we live a life in His Truth. A life that grants us true freedom.

A life where we are free to be who we choose to be, not who we think people would like better.

God doesn’t want us to live our life through perception…concerned only with how others see our marriages, our children, or our lifestyle.

God wants our lives to be transparent and honest….to be looking at our family from a realistic place of where God has us.

To me, there is nothing more beautiful that a person who has the interior freedom to be who they want to be.

When I was in college, I had this friend named “Ducky”. I believe he got that nickname because of his similarities with the character from the movie “Pretty in Pink”. He had a crazy sense of style, but such a warm and loving heart. I remember the first time I met him just beaming. I remember thinking to myself this guy is crazy funny…and his laugh is infectious. As college progressed, “Ducky” and I went on a mission trip to Florida together and we were able to have some quality time hanging out around a camp fire. I learned rather quickly that “Ducky” had a lot to teach me about being true to who I was. He talked to me about his love for Our Lady and he was never without his rosary beads. I have vivid memories of his mad dance skills, and his love for good music. You couldn’t help but be happy when Ducky was around. He was the genuine deal….and everyone knew him and loved him.

I also believe that God puts people in our lives to share our hearts with.

Who are these people God has placed in your life? Are there people that you need to invite “in”? People who you know you could be closer with if you shared more of yourself with them?

What are you afraid of?

Share. Share your thoughts….and your heart.

Ask the Lord to make these people clear to you.

Allow the Lord to give you wings of freedom, so that you can experience true friendship with other men/women.

Be willing to be that honest and genuine friend to others.

“A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter. He who has found ONE has found a treasure”. – Sirach 6:14

God bless,

Tammi

Getting back in the groove….7 quick takes on the past few weeks….

I’m linking up with 7 quick takes this week to share a little bit about what’s happening over here in the CTDW household, and some random thoughts for this week. Giddy up…..

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 A profound and overwhelming thank you to all of you who have lifted up our family in prayer, in regards to my post about my husband’s chronic lung disease. We instantly felt covered in so many prayers. Friends and family all flooding our facebooks with messages of love, support and encouragement. Friends dropped off dinners, sent gift cards, and called to lend kind words and comfort. It is in times like this that you become truly aware of how blessed you are. The Lord, in His Divine Wisdom, used this simple post to also speak to the heart of so many of you who struggle as the “silent sufferer”. Thank you for sharing with me your struggles, your hardships, and allowing me to find comfort in your prayers as well. Please continue to pray for my husband that his lungs continue to remain strong and we can be hospital-free this winter. Please continue to look for those people that God may have placed in your life who struggle as well. If you didn’t get a chance to read my last post about Dan’s health,you can read about that post here.

Christmas was a beautiful end to a tough year. After weeks of worry and fear, My greatest Christmas gift was having my husband sitting next to me feeling pretty great. I was comforted by his loving smile and his willingness to hop up on a ladder and hang Christmas ornaments on a tree. Watching him struggle to climb stairs for lack of energy, it was truly a beautiful gift to watch him enter the holidays with the same luster that he always has had for the holidays. The joy in the picture below is just that….pure joy. We all felt it!


Joy. 

This word has taken on new meaning for me this year. I have always loved the verse in Timothy that says “Be prepared to give a reason for your joy”. However, a little girl named Joy, who miraculously recovered without brain injury after drowning in a pool and being without a heart beat for over 20 minutes has really made me re-evaluate the reason for my “Joy”. This little girl and her family, who were college friends of mine, have deepened the faith of countless people who dropped to their knees to pray for the health of this baby girl. Every day I stalk facebook waiting for Joy’s mother, Kristin’s update on Joy. Her family has allowed us to witness the raw, painful journey of suffering and yet also experience the joy of her miraculous recovery. This little girl has brought so many souls to Christ. You can read about Joy’s story here. A gofund me account has also been set up to help her family with all her medical expenses.

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My day was spent watching the inauguration of President Trump while emptying vomit buckets. Lord…have mercy! For anyone who is unaware of “vomit” etiquette…..you must quarantine your home. Stomach viruses are no joke and you don’t want to “bless” another family with this precious, vile predicament…haha. I’m feeling pretty sleep deprived, as those of you who handle these sticky situations in your home know, you can’t sleep through that ever distinguishable sound of vomit hitting carpet….arghhhhhhh. So gross. Praying that these two little girls don’t “spread the love” to their other siblings or dear mom and dad.*** edited…just added my son to the quarantine…(sigh..)

In addition, I have found one of my passions through starting as a consultant with Thirty-one gifts!I am busy growing my thirty-one business and would like to invite all my readers to check out my VIP group on Facebook. This is a great group of ladies who love a great deal, love our bags, totes, and jewelry, and want to be apprised of all things “thirty-one”. We would love to have you as a member….www.facebook.com/groups/partycentralwithtammi. You can also purchase directly from my site at http://www.mythirtyone.com/tammimccarthy. We currently have a 20% off 20 items from our fall catalog that we are retiring through the end of January. Our Spring/Summer catalog full of bright colors and patterns will be available online  February 1st. Make sure you check it out!

The Catholic blogger’s conference that I attended this past Spring opened my eyes to a few amazing Catholic bloggers…and the Blessed Is She group. Since joining their Instagram, I have saved so many of their bible verses to my phone. Please preorder your Lenten journal from Blessed is She. You can order it here. Trust me….you will LOVE it. It’s perfect for those of us who have little time but want God to do a mighty work in us. Elizabeth Foss has a beautiful three step process of Scripture, reflection, and a call to action (journaling, doodling, etc.) I preordered my Advent journal and I loved everyday of it. I snagged up my Lenten one this morning!

I have seen many bloggers refer to their “word for the year”. A word that they are going to focus on; a theme for their year. After giving this concept some thought, I do believe this is a profound way to project confidence and clarity into my year. To examine my weaknesses and areas that need the Lord’s guidance. My theme for this year is to be intentional. I feel that too many things in my life are not intentional enough. I know that the Lord is calling me to be more intentional in all my decisions. To take control over my house, my finances, my children’s education, every aspect of my life that just has drifted into normalcy over the past few years. I know that the Lord is calling me to be more intentional….to gear my life in a specific direction allowing God to lead me. I eagerly await the Lord’s clarity for this year.

Thank you for continuing to be supportive readers of my blog. This blog started as a way for me to offer “tips” to my fellow homeschoolers and Catholic moms but has really turned into more of a place for me to share my heart. Thank you for always being willing to “listen” to my voice. My goal for this year is to provide more consistency in my blog and yet to allow the Lord to lead the path for the blog this year.

God bless,

Tammi

Who says birthdays have to be “self”-ish….let’s chat about A “Community Service” birthday party….

While planning the “Murder Mystery party” for Sweet Pea this past weekend (more on that subject later), I was reminded that I never blogged on Sweet Pea’s party last year. I have to say that it was the party that SHE and I were the most “proud” of.

The idea for the “selfless” party started when we were listening to Klove radio one morning. Sweet Pea, in her typical spirit of introspection, was listening to Matthew West’s “Do Something”. Here it is if you haven’t heard it before:

The song is really a “call to action” for us Christians. It’s a reminder that we need to “do something” about the poverty, injustice, and hurt in our world today. That God calls us to be that “someone” and to do what we can to help others.

As Sweet Pea listened to that song, and sung her heart out, she finished with, “Mom, I need to do more. Maybe this year, instead of my birthday, I will just donate my  birthday money to the poor.” To say that I’m proud of her selfless heart is an understatement. This child was also the one who tightly hugged my mom’s neck when she learned that one of her Christmas presents, two years ago, was a goat donated to a poor family in Haiti. I wish you could have seen her enthusiasm at knowing that that little goat was providing that family with milk for the year.

With this new found enthusiasm to help others, we worked together to devise a plan for her eleventh birthday party. After thinking of countless ways we could help others, we decided to combine several ideas and create a “Community Service birthday party”. A day in which we came together to thank God for the gift of her life and yet offer multiple opportunities to put others first. This party was about asking her friends to help her “do something” for those less fortunate around her. After discussing her party ideas with several people, Her friends were equally as excited about this gathering.

So here was the party:

Decorations: none. This had to be one of the simplest parties. No decorations. For the invitations, I sent free birthday evites.

Activities:

The girls started by making large casseroles for our parish church. The church has freezers where they store large casserole donations for a local men’s homeless shelter. Sweet Pea had taken two large casserole dishes from the church to fill up for the party. The girls were eager to help !

 

Next, the girls worked in a different room to create happy “birth” day cards to all the new babies on the labor/delivery wing of our local hospital. I called the hospital and spoke with guest services and they were thrilled to help us in getting these passed out to all the new moms.

 

We had another group of girls working on making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the local soup kitchen. We were able to make about four loaves of bread to donate and the call to the supervisor was met with such enthusiasm.

Food: A chickfilia tray was a “must” for a party like this…super simple and a great organization to be supporting. Cheese/crackers, fruit, pretzels and other chips rounded out the night. Everything was disposable and super simple to clean up since we were concentrating on making food for others rather than eating ourselves.

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Gifts: Sweet Pea had asked all her friends, instead of presents, to bring diapers, wipes, and baby items to be donated to the local pregnancy center or canned goods to be delivered to a local food pantry. I watched, with pride, as she delivered them to the pregnancy center….a huge smile on her face…and then to see the director offer her a huge hug for thinking of them. We even had the priviledge of delivering two check donations from the parents of two of her friends. What a sweet birthday present for Sweet Pea!

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This was such a great way to honor what’s important to Sweet Pea, helping others. As a homeschooling mom, I am so happy to see the beautiful girls that Sweet Pea has in her life……little ladies that are learning how important it is to reach out and be “a light” in this world that needs more love and joy.

In the words of Matthew West, “It’s not enough for us to do nothing, it’s time for us to do something!”

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Bows, tights, toothpaste……surviving the Sunday morning craziness…..

Ok moms….grab that big cup of joe, or that large glass of wine and let’s “chat”:

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Sunday Morning Craziness

Sunday Morning Craziness is defined as the crazy time in the morning that preludes attending Sunday morning service/Mass.

In honor of this quite frustrating time…I have parodied a song you might enjoy….

Move over Julie Andrews…haha…...

These are a few annoying things (to the tune of “favorite things”)….

tights that have holes, and teeth that need brushing,

can’t find a hairbrush, and God knows we’re rushing,

kids slow as molasses, and daddy’s unseen

these are a few annoying things.

When the zipper breaks, when the baby cries,

when I’m feeling sad…

I simply remember I’m meeting our Lord

….and then I don’t feel….. sooooooooo bad.

hahaha…..

Seriously……

Now…I don’t plan to run off and become the next big song writer…but that did get you thinking, huh?

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So, how do you feel when you look at a picture like this?

Does the thought of getting all these kids ready overwhelm you?

Do you dread the “Sunday morning shuffle”??!!

Because if it does, that’s ok…….

I used to feel the same way.

I have often heard that we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes.

And…that’s why I blog…hahahaha. 

That’s why I wanted to give you a few pieces of advice that have allowed me a smoothier Sunday morning.

*****Disclaimer: Maybe, you are awesome at this and want to leave some advice for the rest of us…please feel free to write some suggestions in the comment section.*******

When I had three children and was trying to get them ready for Church,  No one could have convinced me that I would one day have five children, be able to get them ready for church, and still enjoy a nice sit down breakfast with my family before. I was practically losing my mind…and my faith in my mothering abilities every Sunday.  I was rushing around trashing my bathrooms, leaving a trail of clothes behind and a huge post-Mass mess.

I would soon learn the key to end this craziness: planning ahead. 

When I was a young child, I dreaded the “sunday morning craziness”….trying to make it to church on time. Six people trying to get into one bathroom and get ready for Mass on Sunday. My mom would get us dressed for church, and then we would sit on the couch in front of the TV with my dad. Then she would run around with little time to get herself dressed. We were always a few minutes late.

As I grew older, I would practically lose my mind waiting in the car with my dad. I had inherited his love for timeliness and order, and saw being late as a complete sign of disrespect. We would go out to the car together, with plenty of time to spare, until the rest of our family would make their way outside….often holding socks, shoes, or jackets in their arms. My mom, on the other hand, moved for “no one” and somehow thought that time would “stand still” while she got ready. If you asked her, we only lived “5 minutes” from the church….however, that was only true if we made all the lights and never fully “stopped” at a stop sign…haha.

I took this same “frustrated” mentality into my early marriage. My husband didn’t share my love for “timeliness” and would often wait until the last minute to jump up, take a “5 minute” shower (those don’t exist) and throw something on for church. I would be in the car already in a terrible, anxious mood for church.

I couldn’t understand why is was so tough. Wake up, get ready….it was the same thing every week. However, when you add gettting “little people” into the mix, your life just got a lot tougher. In addition, if you have kiddos that insist on picking out their own outfits, it can get downright insane…haha.

So after several unsuccessful Mass attempts and several years of messes, I have developed these “sanity savers” ……

Pick out your kids clothes the night before…..

We check the weather and lay everything out the night before. I mean…everything.  The girls typically hang their dresses on their closet doors complete with tights hanging, bows clipped, shoes on the ground, and underwear tucked around the hanger. This avoids any last minute…”I don’t have any socks. or “I’m out of underwear” issues. It also prevents a certain boy from thinking he can pick out shorts in fall weather. However, Mini me did try to attend Mass this morning with brown sandals over black tights…good gosh. 

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Bathe the little ones the night before. Have older kids shower before, if possible. 

My “mini me” has gorgeous curly hair…that needs to be brushed out and “set”. I like to give her a shower on Sunday mornings or else she will definitely be rocking a ponytail.  However, my son and oldest daughter have straight hair and I will often have them shower the night before. The Fashionista likes to shower in the morning verses the night so she showers the same day too. The hubs and I are definitely Sunday morning showerers. Having three of my children shower the night before saves me time and hot water the next morning. It also allows them to go straight to getting ready.

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Get up early and shower yourself.

Yes! Do this! You have to! I used to get up early and start breakfast for everyone. However, I realized that if I got up a little earlier and got myself ready….it was easier to make breakfast in my robe with all my undergarments on. I would put on my jewelry and lay out my clothes so I needed minutes to get ready. I don’t want my clothes smelling like bacon so I will often put on lounge pants and a shirt but my hair and makeup is often done..and my clothes are laid out on my bed.

Serve a nice hot breakfast so no one needs to eat after they are dressed for church. Our family loves to attend the 11:30 Mass at our parish. Since we live about 30 minutes away, my kiddos can still sleep in til around 8/8:30…we can have a nice breakfast between 9-10:00 and head out the door by 10:50/11:00. Cereal or frozen waffles will send my little ones begging for a snack right about during the homily so breakfast is always eggs and some other kind of protein to keep them full.

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Tell your spouse to “give you 15 minutes of time” before the time you need to leave. I have found that this fact was CRUCIAL when I had a baby or toddler. My husband would get ready and then find me for that last 15 minutes. Sometimes it was to find a missing shoe. Sometimes it would be to double check that I had a few outfits, diapers, and wipes for the diaper bag…..but often it was to help me put on a necklace or fasten my dress. If we were ready, he would pile the kiddos in their car seats so I could give the house a quick “tidy” before leaving.

Store a neutral bow and several ponytails in your purse.  This tip is especially necessary if you have a child that likes to pull out their bows. Several of my girls, I wouldn’t even style their hair until we were in the parking lot of the church. If you keep a neutral bow like a white or a black, you are always good. Ponytails can help the worst of hair days….just trust me on that one. 

A couple of stored “mints” will prevent you embarrassment in one of your older kids “forgets” to brush their teeth. I would LOVE to say that this seldom happens but I have a preteen who is obsessed with eye rolling and anything remotely hygienic …yep…we have turned to those mints to save embarrassment.

Take a deep breath as you get in the car. There is nothing more you can do. Anything that wasn’t done…can’t be done. Prepare yourself to meet the Lord and be present.

Most of all, try to put yourself at ease. Your kids are adorable even if they drive you insane getting out the door. And Lord knows, the other moms are too worried about their own child’s hair to notice that this is the fifth Sunday in a row that you are rocking a ponytail.

Please see these tips for what they are…..”sanity savers”. I’m not insinuating that my family is “perfect”…sometimes we oversleep or have a late night on Saturday night and all my “planning” goes out the door.  However, we have several “sanity savers” to help us the next week.

May your Sunday become calmer and more peaceful.

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God bless,

Tammi

Brought to my knees by a plate of waffles….

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Have you ever been close to tears due to stress or being overwhelmed and then one little thing happens…and you lose your mind?….

like a sticky waffle…….

When I walked around to my daughter’s side of my minivan, yesterday morning, and saw this, I lost it. A plate of sticky waffles slowly dripping on the floor of my van….and that was my unraveling….

Am I crazy about waffles or something?!

Nope…it was just the final “straw” in being overwhelmed and underheard as a mother……

That waffle was the pebble that, once removed, started the deluge of rocks of thoughts and worries that have plagued my mind for the past few weeks…

Why can’t my kids follow my rules? How do I do all this? Why is my husband traveling so much?  When do I clean? Why are my kids so messy? Am I meeting the needs of all my kids? Why do I have so little time for myself? Why is my family plagued by medical issues?

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I literally feel like I am pulling this ricksha….most of the time…..uphill…. with five kids and a husband inside it…haha.

And most days I’m on level ground so I can carry my own…

and then some days it seems all uphill…..

As I picked up that waffle, I wiped away the tears from a rough few days. And under my breath, I said, ” lord, help me hold this together.”

I took a deep breath as I walked around the van…and all those memories and thoughts flooded my brain.

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  • the constant picking up of random kid items….(Lord knows they all have a place)
  • the weekly menu planning that I continuously struggle to finish

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  • The little annoying messes everywhere I look…(does no one know how to clean)
  • finding the time to scrub floors; wash windows; and do laundry
  • bills need to be scheduled and paid; registers balanced and budgets tweaked

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  • The daily schooling of five kiddos…(isn’t education overrated?)
  • the endless errands: extracurriculars, food shopping, clothes shopping, etc.
  • and then there’s the holidays….Halloween is less than two weeks away.

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  • the two molars pulled, this week, for Sweet Pea
  • the constant nagging of DDD to wear his retainer…
  • The ER visit on friday with the Fashionista for a seizure (um….what?!)

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  • So now we are in the process of appointments and testing to figure out what’s going on with the Fashionista…..

And…this was me…..DONE!!!!

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Yeah…it wasn’t pretty.

“Quit your crying, Taffeta”….haha

But...ugly cries are awesome.

It’s pretty cleansing…..

So…..I tossed out that sticky waffle and I cleaned up any remnants of it on my carpet.

And just like that….I know that I can get through this.

So if you can identify with any of those feelings, or you are at the end of your rope, I recommend a good old “ugly cry”….and then take it to the foot of the cross. 

Sometimes it just takes a “sticky waffle” to remind you that you need to get on your knees and be thankful for your “worries” and what overwhelms you.

Mostly because you have a God that is bigger than all of that.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”- Phillipians 4:13

As for today, God and I have this one covered.

God bless,

Tammi

5 kids……weekly Adoration…7 quick tips to make it possible…..

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“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”- Mark 9:24

Such beautiful words…so necessary for our times. Sometimes, I just get caught up in the rat race of keeping a clean house; trying to be a loving and Godly wife; and raising little saints for His kingdom that I forget the beauty of silence with God. The beauty of sitting in the presence of the Lord…and allowing Him to speak to my weary soul. Do I truly “possess” the notion that my Lord and savior is available to me 24 hours a day in the beauty of adoration?… “help my unbelief”….

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Eucharist Adoration was something that I experienced early as a child. My mom would take us over the summer for daily Mass and we would sit, one day a week, in adoration for a few minutes. I was far from thrilled…. Didn’t she know summer awaited me? I had summer reading to tackle and friends to chat with…but my mom was “planting seeds”. She was introducing me to an important part of my faith……the part where we learn that true “faith” is going through the motions and praying for a deeper conversion. She knew that one day….I would “get it”.

I attended adoration in high school but few things prepared me for the experience of my first “Steubenville”summer conference. Franciscan University (my alma mater) runs these Summer Youth Conferences all over the country. When I was a high school youth, they were running them only from their college campus. My high school religion teacher, an FUS graduate, convinced me that I needed to attend one. I raised the money for the trip and was off to endure the heat of summer in a huge tent with 2,000 other teens.

One night, I was told we were going to have Eucharist Adoration. No biggie…I had been to that before. However, I heard the large crowd of over 2,000 youth and their chaperones erupt in cheers and chanting. I felt like I was at a concert. “Oh my gosh!, I thought. I wander who is coming in”. Unsure of what was happening, I stood up to see the priest, illuminated by an enormous spotlight, processing through the crowd with the monstrance. At that moment, something inside me broke…and the tears fell. All of a sudden, my soul cried out, “my Lord and my God”. My mind couldn’t comprehend the thoughts that were taking over my heart but I was falling madly in love with Christ. I was truly in the presence of the “King of Kings”.

Our relationship continued to build, as I entered Franciscan University as a freshman and began my first scheduled adoration hour. In the dark of the night, I would throw on my sweatshirt and sweatpants; grab my slippers and brave the cold to meet with the Lord around 3 am. Barely awake, I would open that heavy wooden door, and the beams of lights surrounding the monstrance would overwhelm me. I would spend hours in front of the Lord.

What a gift this was for me in college! Many a night I would fall asleep under the Son’s rays and feel such peace. I would throw my cares upon the Lord…and know that he was there for me. It was before our Lord that my future husband and I often prayed for our future marriage and children.

When I returned to the campus this spring, I was eager to spend a few minutes back in that chapel. To soak in that hearty wood smell, and the creaky of the big doors…….and give my thanks for all the blessings and answers to prayers that had begun in that very building.

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It seems only fitting that my children come to know and love this time before the Lord. I need to plant the same “seeds” in my own children as my mom did. The practical implications of taking five children to weekly adoration seemed like a task I should be willing to conquer, now I just needed to figure out the easiest and most helpful ways to accomplish this.

After several weeks of adoration, I have found that these seven tips have helped me to set a successful adoration trip with my crew:

Reassess your “notion” of adoration. When I was in college, my adoration time was completely quiet. I was not distracted by little whisperers nor was I concerned with the noise level or behavior of the other people in the chapel with me. My adoration time, as a mom with my kids, is shortened to a few moments at a time when I can refocus myself. I must recognize that my time before the Lord is about quality not quantity. I must be willing to “allow my eyes to gaze upward on the Lord” and away from what my children are doing.

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Discuss the “expectations” of your child/children’s behavior. On the way to adoration, I address behavior issues that I recall from the week before. I remind the children that it is appropriate to be “kneeling before the Lord and spending a few moments in prayer”. I review that this is a special time in our week, when we get to spend with the Lord more intimately. I ask each child what they have decided to “do” during their adoration time and make suggestions of people whom they should pray for, etc. I have all my children use the bathroom before we enter the small chapel. I had to recognize that this was going to be a “learned skill” for my kids and with that I had to find a happy medium between constantly correcting them and allowing myself to “enter in” and spend some time in peace myself. I make a point to not allow myself to grow angry as I feel this is counterproductive.

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Start out with a shorter time and slowly increase it weekly. The first time the children and I EVER attended adoration, it was for about 10 minutes. I explained to the little ones, how Jesus comes in “a special way” to be with us. We gradually worked up to 20, then 30, etc…and now we stay for the full hour. I will often pull the little girls over to me to guide them into more formal prayer and to pray over them.

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Bring religious articles/books for your younger children. I have several prayer cards, rosaries, and little saint books that I throw in my bag for our adoration time. I will take a few minutes and help one of the little ones read their book or teach them how to “create the story” from looking at the pictures.

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Thanksgiving/than Petition. Guide your children in speaking to God. I encourage my children to “spend a few minutes thinking of all the blessings we have, and thank God for them. Now, ask God to bless those who have asked for prayer, and need God’s help. Finally, using your own words, tell God how much he means to you and listen for Him to speak to you.” Encourage your children to dialogue with the Lord. Teach them how to sit in the quiet and listen for the voice of God. What a beautiful blessing when they can train their young souls to seek the voice of God. Liken this time to a “visit with grandmom”. “You wouldn’t go to grandmom’s house and eat her cookies, swing in her swing, and play with her dog without greeting her and talking, right?! Well, God awaits us in the blessed sacrament. He longs for you to thank Him for all the blessings in your life.”

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Make suggestions to your children on how to spend their time. I allow my 3 and 5 yr old to color religious coloring books during this time. My 3 yr old also writes “notes” to Jesus that she rolls into scrolls and leaves near the flowers on the vase on the altar floor. My older children (ages 8, 9, and 11) spend their time praying the rosary, walking the stations of the cross on the walls, reading prayer pamphlets or lives of the saint books. Each one of them will come over to me for individual prayer time with me or just to sit in my lap while I pray.

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To make you feel more comfortable, consider speaking to the other adults that hold that same weekly adoration slot that you do. I waited for the woman that shared our adoration time one afternoon. I told her that the children would be coming weekly with me. I assured her that the children would “try” their best to be quiet but that they were learning to “adore Our Lord” and that it would be a process.  I was praying that she would understand. Her response was so loving….so thoughtful. She told me that she loved to see their little faces and that she would pray that it was a blessed time for them.

Adoration is so needed in our chaotic and hectic world today. It is imperative that we teach our young children how to seek the voice of God through silence. May God’s voice not fall on deaf ears…but young ears eager to share His message.

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God bless,

Tammi

 

A quick “7 takes” on our signs of Lent…..

Signs!!!

A pictoral reminder of something that we are suppose to want to remember, right?!

A reminder to “focus” on the “task at hand”.

So I’m linking up for 7 quick takes over at “This Ain’t the Lyceum”.

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 So this blog post is just a “quick 7 takes” about the Signs of Lent in our home!

family calendar  1.) Scheduling:

I got to tell you that few things make me happier than a great “tip”. So you can imagine my joy when my girlfriend told me about this awesome dry erase calendar at Pottery Barn Teen. We have been using it in our school room religiously. (For those of you wondering….the colorful book tags are bible verses that we are memorizing this year.) However, when I found these awesome calendar tags for Lent over at Shower of Roses…it was a perfect combination to an already great set up!

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I also used her cool printouts to decorate the kid’s area for Lent.

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2.) Visual Kid-friendly Reminders

If you want your kids to take responsibility for their Lenten sacrifices and really make the “most” of this period in the church, it’s important to have an area of your home that reflects this. Every year we use our door to the basement to hang the children’s personal Lenten calendars. It’s a countdown of the 40 days which they color as they “count down”. We also sit down with each child, and write down what they are giving up or adding to their day. The little ones, 5 and under, we let give up something different each week.

This year we had one of our children give up their bed for all of Lent; another take up a 30 min. bible devotion at night; and another pick a week of doing good deeds for her siblings. We are always impressed with how they really “dig in” this Lent. On Sundays, we review their week with them.

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3.) Family Lenten Devotions

During Lent, we also pick family devotions to help our family grow closer to Christ. Each day highlights a specific action or form of worship/prayer that we will take part in as a family. Listed above is our breakdown for the week.

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4.) Simplicity of the home

All year, our house is adorned in various decorations. This simple table reminds the kids of the simplicity of this time of year…..preparation. Our Lenten decorations are simple, so as to be a stark contrast to the colorful flowers and bright Easter decorations.

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The children love the ever- changing mantel and seeing what holidays are coming up next. During Lent,  our mantle is pretty bare and it focuses on the simplicity of the season.

5.) Reduction of electronic usage

I have a love affair with TV. I love to watch various shows. I’m a Cold Case, every single CSI show and episode, and Law and Order junkie. I try and speed through the commercials so I can squeeze two shows into my one hour  of “mommy time” in the afternoon. It’s ridiculous. However, I hate what it does to my children. It turns them from super loving to easily annoyed; focused and attentive to little zombies; and it drives me insane! So our TV time is GONE on Mondays during Lent. It’s tough….but we are doing great!

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6.) Increased-one-on one time/ Family Togetherness!

In the picture above, the fashionista and I are working on a crossword puzzle. I had saved several of these puzzles for a “rainy day” but realized that it was just something else that we never get to. This season we are trying to spend more time pulling out the board games, and the Uno cards.

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The hubs and I have also found that when the children are focused on “denying” themselves during Lent,  that it creates a more loving atmosphere in the home. There are a lot more hugs being given out and playful banter.

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Along with the board games, the hubs can’t resist the little voices that beckon him to color! With a dad that travels for work, these children soak up their time with him when he is home.

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7.) Almsgiving: Random Acts of Kindness

I started a project called Touched By His Light where I practice random acts of kindness in the name of my Catholic faith. My beautiful sister in law laminated some of my cards and gave them to me as a birthday present. Talk about “knowing me”. (I love sentimental gifts.) I pass out these cards ,when I do an act of kindness, so people understand that my loving gesture is really just allowing God to bless them through using me. My intention is that these recipients will begin to see God’s presence in their life.  So many beautiful people and families have benefited from this project.

There are signs all around us during this season. Making use of them in our lives will eventually lead to change. My prayer is that we all can embrace this change and allow the Lord to do a mighty work within us.

God bless,

Tammi