Catholic · family · gratitude · Prayer

Endure

I was “up to here” (hand level with forehead) with all of the rantings of my teen-aged son as he continued to argue and fuss about everything, anything, and nothing. I was tired and just needed a little peace. “Son, just stop.” I said in an exasperated tone as I walked out of the room and sat down in the black swivel chair by my desk. Stomping his feet loudly as he pursued, my son continued in a loud voice, “What mom ? What do you want me to stop ? Huh? Huh? What am I doing now, Mom ?” He stopped and stood in the doorway, arms crossed and a scowl on his face. He stood there motionless so as to show me that he wasn’t “doing” anything.

I didn’t want to put up with his antics anymore. I didn’t want things to be this way. I wished our relationship didn’t have to always be so strained. I knew I shouldn’t feel this way, but at that moment, I just wanted to disappear. After several moments, when he realized that his “motionless” stance was getting him nowhere, he called me a few choice names, then stormed off.

I began to text my husband at work to inform him of what was going on. I complained about our son’s attitude towards me. I felt that I shouldn’t have to deal with this on my own – I needed some support. My husband’s reply was only one word, “Endure.” Frustrated at not receiving some words of comfort, I asked myself, “Endure ? That’s easy for him to say. Ha! Endure, indeed.” I felt a scowl forming on my own face. Soon I received another text message from my husband. “Pray the Rosary for him.” I immediately knew that he was right. I picked up my Rosary and began to pray. I was on the second decade when my son walked into the room, his face filled with remorse. “I’m sorry, Mama.” Those words were like music to my ears. I hugged him as I accepted his apology, and the rest of the day was fine.

I think back to my husband’s original response. “Endure.” The definition of endure is “to bear without resistance; to suffer patiently ”. Isn’t that one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, to bear wrongs patiently ? And aren’t we all called upon to practice both the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy ? How wise of my husband to respond the way he did, and how foolish I was to respond the way I did.

So, while maybe I was “up to here” (hand level with forehead) with my son, how much more “up to here” has our Heavenly Father had it with me ? If I want my son to respect and honor me, shouldn’t I behave the same way towards my Father in heaven ? I can do that by showing my love to those He has placed in my life, and by practicing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

The Corporal Works of Mercy:

To feed the hungry;
To give drink to the thirsty;
To clothe the naked;
to shelter the homeless;
To visit the sick;
To visit the imprisoned;
To bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy

To instruct the ignorant;
To counsel the doubtful;
To admonish sinners;
To bear wrongs patiently;
To forgive offenses willingly;
To comfort the afflicted;
To pray for the living and the dead
Catholic · Prayer · Homemaking

Prayer; We all Struggle

Prayer is something that comes easily for most Christians.  Or is it ?  Don’t many of us struggle with prayer ?  Don’t we sometimes have trouble keeping a good balance of prayer and work throughout our daily lives ?  I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  If even some of the greatest saints admit to having had trouble with prayer, then we shouldn’t be ashamed to admit it when it happens to us.  This doesn’t mean that we should be proud of it or anything, but not ashamed of it either.  So what do we do ?  What do we do when our lives seem so hectic that it seems difficult to “fit in” prayer time ?  Well, I’m no theologian, but I am a wife and mother who lives with her own set of struggles, and sometimes finds it hard to pray.  How I’ve learned to handle it is simple. (not easy, simple)  I try to pray in the morning when I first wake up, however since that is not always possible, I have incorporated prayer into my daily work.  I find that washing the dishes is an excellent time to pray.  For a utensil that needs scrubbing, a short prayer of praise or thanksgiving is suitable.  Something like “Dearest Jesus, I love You.  Please help me to love You more.”  or “Thank You, Lord.  Please give me strength.”  Even a simple, “Help me, Jesus.” works just fine.  When tackling a very greasy pan, an Our Father or longer prayer is great.  The larger and dirtier the dish, the longer the prayer.  I admit, I don’t always remember to do this, yet the times that I do are much more peaceful.  Of course, this method can be incorporated into any chore.  While doing the laundry, sweeping the floor, vacuuming… You get the point.  Oh, here is another way I try to incorporate prayer into my day.  Whatever I am doing for my family, I tell myself that I am doing it for Christ.  For example, this is what I like to do when fixing the bed.  I try to imagine that I am fixing the bed for the Christ Child.  As I’m tucking and smoothing the sheets/blankets, I say to myself, “This is for Baby Jesus.”  Once again, I don’t always remember to do this, but when I do, I feel happy inside.  And when Mama’s happy, everybody’s happy!  Okay, so I threw in that last part to add a little humor to this post! But really, go ahead and give it a try sometime.  It really does create an overall sense of peace.

baby-jesus-0107
I’m sure HE prayed while he worked!
humor

What is a Friend ?

This post was written in fun on what I think a true friend is. I hope you enjoy it!

What is a friend ?  Is a friend simply a person who has something in common with you ?  Is a friend someone who simply “wears the mask” of friendship, but in reality doesn’t care about you ? Does a friend tell you nice things to your face, but then speaks unkindly about you behind your back ? Is that a friend ? I don’t think so.

To me, a friend is someone who cares about you and wants the best for you.

It is someone who would give of themselves if it meant that it would be of some help to you.

A friend will call you on the phone just to say hi.

A friend will send you an e-mail or text just to see how you’re doing.

A friend will tell you if those shoes don’t go with that dress – in a kind way, and will help you pick out an outfit that matches!

A friend will let you know that you have a piece of food stuck on your teeth, and will stand in front of you while you discretely try to remove it.

A friend will tell you that you missed a button on your blouse!

A friend will try to beat you in skee-ball and then laugh at herself as she misses!

A friend is fun!

A friend will comfort you.

A friend is someone who would drop everything to come and help you when you are in trouble; someone who would give to you their time and companionship when you are lonely.

A friend is someone who laughs at the same jokes you laugh at and cries at the same trials.

A friend will point out your flaws, in a kind way, and offer advice on how to change them. A friend is a buddy!

A friend will press the “Like” button on your blog, even if they don’t like what you wrote!   🙂

family · Memories

Ladies Don’t Eat Babies!

My son was about three years old, and we were at JCPenny’s when he noticed a very pregnant lady. Now keep in mind, whatever thoughts my boy has, out they come! So anyway, using about as much tact as any three year old would, he asked the expectant mother, “Why are you so fat ?” (perfectly innocent question,right?)

Luckily the very kind lady was used to children, and very happily said, while patting her stomach, “No, sweetheart, there’s a baby in there.” My son let this sink in as he sat there in thought and then, in a loud and horrified voice he said, ” You mean you ate the baby?!”  After the laughter had died down, I explained to him  that God had put the baby there. (The rest would come much later, that seemed to suffice for now.) By the time he was four, the questions began.  “So Mama, why doesn’t God put a baby in your tummy?” I explained to him that all of the medicine that Mommy takes would hurt the baby, and that’s why we had adopted him.  Let it be said here that my son had only recently found out about his own adoption – we had had that talk with him a few months prior.  Okay, so our little guy really knew his stuff now. He knew that ladies don’t eat their babies. He knew that God “puts” the baby there, and he knew that he had been adopted. After mulling these things over for a while, my son, who by now was desperate for a playmate, spoke up, “Mama, why don’t we adopt another baby?”  How could he have known that we had been trying to since he was still an infant ?  “Well,” I answered, “We are, but it won’t be easy, and it may take a long time to find the baby.”   I spoke as gently as I could, keeping in mind that I was speaking to a four year old. Suddenly his face beamed bright as he explained to me.  “Oh no Mama, I see plenty of them at Walmart!!!!!!  Maybe we could get one of them!  I could see that yet another talk was in order, as I explained to him that all of those children already had parents. Okay, now my little man really knew his stuff. Ladies don’t eat babies, and you don’t buy them at Walmart either. Well fast forward a bit to my sister’s baby shower. My son and my husband had just come to pick me up.  When he saw my sister he said proudly, “I know, God put a baby in your tummy!”  Half laughing, my sister said,”Um, yea ! That’s right!” Proudly showing off all of his knowledge on the subject, he continued, “And the baby is growing inside you,right?” “That’s right.” my sister said, still chuckling a little. Oh but our boy genius was not quite finished. “And so, you will just keep getting bigger and bigger until your tummy explodes, and that’s why you will have to go to the hospital!”  Whoa!!! Yet another talk seemed to be in order, but that one would have to wait until much later.

Well, that was about ten years ago.  It’s “later” !

acceptance

Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen to Good People?

So beautifully put!

Grace Under Pressure

This question came to mind today when I thought of a family friend who was diagnosed with cancer and was given weeks to live.

This is the question posed by Christians and unChristians alike.

For Christians it is a pursuit of understanding how our good God could permit to happen the things we see around us daily.

For the unbelievers, it is used as a dismissal of the idea of God, as if somehow a truly good God would never let bad things happen.

For those who are in the former category, read on. For those in the latter category, I’m not sure they really want the answer, but they’re welcome to read my explanation.

Since even many Christians are not ready for this difficult concept, I feel the need to warn you that I struggled with this concept, wrestled with it until I finally realized that I have no…

View original post 751 more words

family · gratitude · home-school

Why I Home-schooled my Only Child

Being one of six kids, I just always thought that I’d follow in my mother’s footsteps and raise a large family as well.  When my husband and I were first married, I used to imagine our home filled with excited little ones running through the house, tracking up the floors.  I dreamed of settling squabbles and making sure I divided desserts up equally so as not to cause an argument.  I looked forward to being the mother of several children.  However, as we all know, things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.  Sometimes, God’s plan for our lives differs from our own plans.  I knew from the beginning that, because of my epilepsy, I would not be able to have children naturally.  I was on way too much medication for that to become a possibility.  So, my husband and I had planned to adopt.  That was over twenty years ago.  Since that time, we have adopted our son, who is now fourteen.  We have tried over the years to adopt more kids, but adopting is not as simple as one might think.  So, long story short, we never were able to adopt more than one child.  That one child, by the way, was a God-send.  He is loved and cherished more than he’ll ever know.  We were introduced to home-schooling very early on, and had planned on home-schooling our children.  I was excited, and was looking forward to setting up my home-school room and all that goes with it.  You know that feeling, right ? It happens every year.  I had so much fun teaching my boy over the years!  Yes, we’ve had our share of struggles as well, but I wouldn’t change the time we’ve spent together for anything!  Well, as I’ve mentioned, we never did have more children.  That is the answer to why I home-schooled my only child.  We thought we would have more kids, we wanted more kids, but God had other plans.  Was I going to change my plans for home-schooling simply because my son didn’t have any siblings ?  Of course not. I wouldn’t deprive him of that.  So, God’s plan for my life was different than my own.  But that’s okay – I trust that God knows exactly what He’s doing, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

Catholic

The Easter Homily of St. John Chrysostom

St. John Chrysostom, a doctor of the Church, was known for his eloquent homilies.  The name, “Chrysostom literally means, “golden mouthed”.  We can get just a taste of his beautiful way with words from reading his Easter homily below as he so eloquently describes to us why everyone, even those who may not have taken part in the fast, should share in celebrating the wonderful holiday of Easter.  Please enjoy the beautiful words of St. John Chrysostom below:

If any man be devout and loveth God,
Let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast!
If any man be a wise servant,
Let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.

If any have laboured long in fasting,
Let him now receive his recompense.
If any have wrought from the first hour,
Let him today receive his just reward.
If any have come at the third hour,
Let him with thankfulness keep the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour,
Let him have no misgivings;
Because he shall in nowise be deprived therefore.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour,
Let him draw near, fearing nothing.
And if any have tarried even until the eleventh hour,
Let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness.

For the Lord, who is jealous of his honour,
Will accept the last even as the first.
He giveth rest unto him who cometh at the eleventh hour,
Even as unto him who hath wrought from the first hour.
And He showeth mercy upon the last,
And careth for the first;
And to the one He giveth,
And upon the other He bestoweth gifts.
And He both accepteth the deeds,
And welcometh the intention,
And honoureth the acts and praises the offering.

Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord;
Receive your reward,
Both the first, and likewise the second.
You rich and poor together, hold high festival!
You sober and you heedless, honour the day!
Rejoice today, both you who have fasted
And you who have disregarded the fast.
The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously.
The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith:
Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.

Let no one bewail his poverty,
For the universal Kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities,
For pardon has shown forth from the grave.
Let no one fear death,
For the Saviour’s death has set us free.
He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.

By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive.
He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh.
And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry:
Hell, said he, was embittered
When it encountered Thee in the lower regions.

It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain.
It was embittered, for it was overthrown.
It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.
It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and thou art overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead,
Is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be glory and dominion
Unto ages of ages.

Amen.

 

acceptance · gratitude

My Cup Runneth Over

Adoration_wp

“God will never give you more than you can handle, but He gives you just as much as you can bear.”  In other words, He fills each one of our cups to the rim.  One might be tempted to look at another and think, “That person doesn’t have to suffer the way I do.  It isn’t fair.  Why would God allow so much to happen to me, while others don’t seem to have to suffer at all ?”   It is hard to be grateful when we are suffering, when we are not getting our way, when our child is hurting…  How are we supposed to be grateful during these times ?  Perspective is how.  It’s all in how you look at it.  You see, the difference isn’t in how much or how little God fills your “cup”, but rather, it is the size of the cup which differs.  This vessel, or “cup” which is being filled is none other than ourselves.  We are the cup.  Our body and soul is this vessel which is so graciously being poured upon and filled with blessings every day of our lives.  These blessings may come in the form of trials and illnesses, of laughter and happy memories, of tears and heartbreak.  Everything that happens in our lives is a blessing to be embraced.  THAT is where the gratitude comes in.  Perspective.  So, knowing this, how can we not be grateful for our sufferings?  How can we not whole-heartedly surrender ourselves to His will for us, knowing that all that occurs in our lives occurs out of His love for us; a love so deep that it is as an endless ocean of mercy ?  During the agony in the garden, Christ Himself, our model, underwent unspeakable sufferings and temptations.  Three times He prayed, “Father, if it be Your will, let this cup pass from Me, only not my will, but Yours be done.”  Christ didn’t have to do this.  He didn’t have to make this request of His father, yet He did this to show us how we should act in times of suffering and temptations.  It is okay to ask God for something, yet it is always to be followed up with, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”  This is acceptance.  It is the acceptance of God’s will being done in our lives.  It is the acceptance that God knows better than we do what is best for us.  “God never gives us more than we can handle, but He gives us just as much as we can bear.”  He fills our cup to the rim with the events that occur in our lives – with what He knows we can handle, but our cups runneth over when it comes to His love for us.

epilepsy

Shared from “The Epileptic Life of Sara”

When I first got diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 13, it felt like my life came crashing down. I remember telling my family about the diagnosis and they were upset as well. I knew I needed to tell my friends, but I didn’t know how exactly. “Oh hey, I have epilepsy now.” That…

via The Process — The Epileptic Life of Sara

home-school

When the Teacher Learns

I’ve been a home-schooling mom for about ten years now.  For some that makes me a veteran home-schooler, to others, I’m still a rookie.  Whatever the case, I have learned an awful lot over the years, and am still learning.  In the beginning, I learned that teaching is much more than assigning worksheets and grading papers.  I learned that each child has their own individual learning style, and that my son was a hands-on learner.   I learned the weaknesses and strengths of my son, and have implemented a variety of teaching methods over the years.  I learned, also, that some days, kids may not want to learn, or rather, they don’t want to be taught.  It was on days like these that I put my imagination to the test!  I had to think of ways to make learning fun.  I’m referring to a “hands-on, let me do it, when can we do this again?” kind of fun!  And that is just what I did!  In kindergarten, it was pretty easy.  I mean, hey, it was kindergarten!  When we began first grade, my son wanted a second round of kindergarten!  That’s when learning to read was turned into a game and learning to spell required a tray of salt.  Yes, over the years this home-school mom has learned a lot.  I’d like to share with you, through pictures, just what kind of “fun” we’ve had over the years.       I will begin with some of the ways this “hands-on” boy of mine learned about different countries in third grade Social Studies:

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We have come a long way since third grade, but I have always tried to make learning as much fun as possible for my son.   Unfortunately, the older he became, the more difficult his studies became, and having “fun” while learning became something that seemed to be almost impossible.  However, we have recently managed to make learning fun once again, even in eighth grade, thanks to  http://www.elearningk12.com    It is all online, student led, and covers all subjects.  Finally, my teenager is having fun while learning once again.  I, too, am still learning.

epilepsy · home-school

A Unique Individual

Being a home-school mom, there’s always the occasional negative comment, or the stare that seems to say, “Why don’t you send your kid to a ‘real‘ school ?”  I find that it isn’t even worth it to explain to certain individuals, because they’ve already made up their minds about home-schooling, so I just don’t bother.  With home-schooling, you either believe in it or you don’t.  There’s no in between.  Well, now let’s confuse the issue a little further.  Add to this the fact that I have epilepsy.  Now there’s something that really gets the stares and the comments going.  I don’t even have to be having a seizure at the time to cause the staring.  Here is what I mean:  I could be feeling just fine, and others around me will start staring at me as if they’re just waiting for me to have a seizure.  I wonder if they realize how ridiculous that makes them look.  Some people have even had the nerve to come up to me and ask me if I’m going to have a seizure!  Of course, I don’t mean to compare home-schooling to epilepsy, and I don’t mean to give the impression that home-schooling is a negative thing either.  I chose to home-school my child from the very beginning.  I chose it because I believe that it is the best thing for my son at this time.  I’m proud to be a home-school parent.  But you know something else ?  I’m also proud to have epilepsy.  Having epilepsy has made me into a stronger person.  It’s because of my epilepsy that I am a mother to my son today.  That’s right.  If I didn’t have epilepsy I would have never even considered adoption, and therefore, someone else would have been the mother of my dear son.  God does work in mysterious ways!  Now this doesn’t mean that I like having epilepsy – nothing could be further from the truth.  I can’t stand it!  But, I accept it, and I am grateful for the positive outcomes that have occurred as a direct result of my having epilepsy.    Home-schooling and epilepsy – just how do these two things tie together ?  What makes one similar to the other ?  The answer ?  Nothing.  There is nothing about home-schooling that has anything to do with epilepsy.  Nothing, that is, other than me.  I have epilepsy, and I’m a home-schooling mom.  I’m the tie between two things that otherwise have nothing to do with the other.  That is one thing that makes me unique.  Oh, there are plenty of other home-schooling moms out there, and there are plenty of other people with epilepsy out there as well.  But a home-school mom who has epilepsy and suffers from daily seizures, well, there aren’t too many of us around.  At first, I felt alone because of it.  I felt isolated.  No longer.  I am not alone, but rather, I am a unique individual.  Unique individuals.  That is what makes up this world.  God knows what He is doing, and He doesn’t make mistakes.  God made me to live the life that He has called me to live, in the way that He has called me to live it.  He has given me free will to choose right from wrong.  In His wisdom, God has left that choice up to me, as He has for every individual.  Where our choices lead us is up to us.