Tag Archives: faith

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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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

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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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