Lord, Help Me to Be a Better Wife…..

 

woman-praying

Throwback Thursday brings us to this wonderful prayer.  In my estimation, it about covers it all! If we have the earnest desire to become a better wife that this prayer asks for, we are on the road to a brighter future!

“Lord, Help me to be a good wife.  I fully realize that I don’t have what it takes to be one without Your help.  Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability and turn them into kindness, long-suffering, and the willingness to bear all things.  Take my old emotional habits, mindsets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions, and self-protective stance, and make me patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.  Take the hardness of my heart and break down the walls with Your battering ram of revelation.  Give me a new heart and work in me Your love, peace, and joy.  I am not able to rise above who I am at this moment.  Only You can transform me.

“Show me where there is sin in my heart, especially with regard to my husband.  I confess the times I’ve been unloving, critical, angry, resentful, disrespectful, or unforgiving toward him.  Help me to put aside any hurt, anger, or disappointment I feel and forgive him the way You do–totally and completely, no looking back.  Make me a tool of reconciliation, peace, and healing in this marriage.  Enable us to communicate well.

“Make me my husband’s helpmate, companion, champion, friend, and support.  Help me to create a peaceful, restful, safe place for him to come home to.  Teach me how to take care of myself and stay attractive to him.  Grow me into a creative and confident woman who is rich in mind, soul, and spirit. Make me the kind of woman he can be proud to say is his wife.

I lay all my expectations at Your cross.  I release my husband from the burden of fulfilling me in areas where I should be looking to You.  Help me to accept him the way he is and not try to change him.  I realize that in some ways he may never change, but at the same time, I release him to change in ways I never thought he could.  I leave any changing that needs to be done in Your hands, fully accepting that neither of us is perfect and never will be.  Only You, Lord, are perfect and I look to You to perfect us.

Teach me how to pray for my husband and make my prayers a true language of love.  Where love has died, create new love between us.  Show me what unconditional love really is and how to communicate it in a way he can clearly perceive.  Bring unity between us so that we can be in agreement about everything.  May the God of patience and comfort grant us to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.  Make us a team, not pursuing separate, competitive, or independent lives, but working together, overlooking each other’s faults and weaknesses for the greater good of the marriage.  Help us to pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.  May we be ‘perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment’.

“I pray that our commitment to You and to one another will grow stronger and more passionate every day.  Enable him to be the head of the home as You made him to be, and show me how to support and respect him as he rises to that place of leadership.  Help me to understand his dreams and see things from his perspective. Reveal to me what he wants and needs and show me potential problems before they arise.  Breathe Your life into this marriage.

“Make me a new person, Lord.  Give me a fresh perspective, a positive outlook, and a renewed relationship with the man You’ve given me.  Help me see him with new eyes, new appreciation, new love, new compassion, and new acceptance.  Give my husband a new wife, and let it be me.”

From THE POWER OF A PRAYING WIFE by Stormie OmartianIMG_3507

Marriage is a Top-Flight Career

from Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George A. Kelly

Having once established the fact that marriage is a topflight
career, it naturally follows that the same rules govern its success
as govern those of other careers. Every successful career demands
adequate preparation, intelligent earnestness, persistent industry,
and the will-to-win, but marriage demands all these, plus the
anointed strength of love.

If every couple would but bring to marriage one half the
consuming zeal for success that Thomas A. Edison brought to his
scientific career, how different many of them would be!media-58364-209122

As a youth, Edison spent long dreary hours practicing on the tiny
telegrapher’s key, learning the code and manner of sending and
receiving messages. There was a four-day walk from Port Huron to
Boston in search of work. There was the penniless arrival in New
York and a chance job repairing a telegraphic communication
system in a stock exchange on Wall Street that led to financial
betterment, but it was dogged determination to succeed that made
him so outstanding as a scientist.

Take, for instance, Edison’s work on the carbon filament. In
October, 1879, he determined to make his experiment work if it
was the last thing he ever did. So convinced was he that the carbon
filament was utilizable that he refused to leave his laboratory until
he completed his work. On the second night he said to his
associate, Charles Batchelor, “We will make a lamp before we sleep
or die in the attempt,” and make it he did, though it took four
sleepless days and nights before the now famous Edison
incandescent light was invented and the whole lighting system
revolutionized in the world.

Edison’s career was successful solely because he brought to it a
determination to succeed no matter what the cost. Success in any
field rarely comes without great sacrifices. One has only to read
about the life of Madame Curie and her devoted husband and
follow the discovery of radium to evaluate the cost of success in a
career.Marie-Curie-Lab-1910

Madame Curie’s sufferings as she worked in the smoke-filled shed,
cold in the winter and stifling hot in the summer, defy description.
The work of days became months and years, and failure dogged
her every minute of the time, but Marie Curie, with terrible
patience, continued to treat kilogram by kilogram the tons of
pitchblende residue. Poverty hampered her in the acquisition of
adequate equipment. The obstacles seemed insurmountable in the
forty-five months of experimentation, but in the end the Curie
work produced radium.

Who could look at the great Marie Curie as she lay on her
deathbed, after thirty-five years’ work with radium, and see her
tired, burned, scarred hands without realizing the awful cost of
success in a career?

Success in marriage depends upon acceptance of the fact that it is
a career and upon the readiness and willingness to bring to it all
the determination possible to overcome every difficulty and
obstacle on the road to success. If a marriage breaks up, it is not
because a man or woman must accept defeat but because the
defeat is willed.

A kite cannot be made to fly unless it goes against the wind and
has a weight to keep it from overturning. No marriage will succeed
unless there is readiness to face and overcome difficulties and a
willingness to accept the responsibilities of a parent, for
parenthood is the weight that keeps most marriages from
somersaulting.

When Divine Love Incarnate came to Cana of Galilee to sanctify
forever pure conjugal love, He came to that marriage fresh from
His terrible bout with Satan.

Since the first man and his wife had succumbed to temptation in
the Garden of Eden, it was divinely planned that Christ, the New
Adam, should permit the same tempter to attack Him and be
ignominiously defeated and thus set a pattern for all to follow in
the resistance of temptation. His sacred presence at the wedding
was ever to be an earnest of the help and special graces He would
grant those called to the marriage career who would likewise resist
the onslaughts of Satan. Yea, more, Our Lord would elevate
matrimony to the dignity of a Sacrament and make of it a veritable
channel of special graces.

It is worthy of note, however, that while en route to Cana, the
Master called His first five apostles, one of them being Nathanael
(St. Bartholomew), a native of Cana of Galilee. The timing of
Nathanael’s call to the apostolate was, doubtless, to indicate the
primacy of dignity and honor of the priesthood and religious life
over marriage, and that, in that very order, they would form a
trinity of top-flight careers.

It was only after choosing a nucleus for His priesthood that Christ
went down to the marriage at Cana of Galilee.

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Faking It Can Be Valuable/Why We Love Men….

We’ve always used the adage “Fake it Till You Make It”. That may rankle some, but it can be valuable.

I chuckle when I think of one of our own stories. It is kind of random when associated with the following tidbits but I think it’s a great story and this is my chance to tell it! :D

Hubby was looking for a job. He applied with a brick mason and the foreman asked if he had laid brick before.  All he said to the foreman was, “Yes.”

My husband is a great rock mason, but brick was a whole different animal for him. At that time, he had built one brick mailbox for a customer…hehe.

The first day on the job, my husband showed up with his clumsy-looking rock trowel and dug in. The other guys looked askance at him but they kept on working.

A few days and many bricks later found Vincent gaining great speed, awkward trowel and all, as he slapped that mortar on the bricks like bread on butter! One of the guys walked up to him with a smile and said, “You really fake it till you make it, don’t you?”

Vincent let out a big grin……Vincent bricklayingMan building brick wall

If a virtue eludes us, “faking it” can be just using our will and doing it any way…..we may find that the virtue sticks, like mortar on a brick! :)

from  The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide To Finding Intimacy, Passion and Peace:

Faking It Can be Valuable

Sometimes a woman will tell me that she can’t treat her husband respectfully because he really is being a jerk, or really blew it with the taxes or just doesn’t seem worthy. She will even go so far as to tell me she feels dishonest about acting like she respects what he thinks when she just doesn’t.

What she means is that she doesn’t feel like treating him respectfully.

Of course it’s important to be honest in your relationship, but it’s also important to be polite. If you have to overlook your husband’s minor faults to treat him respectfully then do it.

Do this for the same reason you would go to work in the morning even if you didn’t feel like it — because it’s something you’ve committed to doing and others are counting on you.

Just as it’s not “dishonest” to go to work when you’re not in the mood, it’s not dishonest to treat your mate with respect when you don’t feel like it. It’s just a matter of keeping your commitment — in this case, a sacred one.

Sleep With Both Eyes Shut

If you’re anything like me, you’re used to being vigilant all the time. This means that although you have plenty of your own responsibilities, you keep an eye on lots of other things as well.

We do this because we believe that if we were really to let go and sleep with both eyes shut, everything might go to hell in a hand-basket.

For instance, I used to think that when my husband was driving it was up to me to warn him about cars in his blind spot, tell him when he was tailgating and point out choice parking spots. Otherwise, I feared, we would get in an accident (or have to walk too far).

When I thought about it, my husband’s good driving record reflected that he didn’t need any help from me.

Now I know what to do: I close my eyes — both of them.

Why We Love Men

They do seem completely bizarre at times, but there are some characteristics that are universally male that I’m very grateful for.

For one thing, they don’t harbor grudges like we do. That means that while I’ve still got a list of grievances from things my husband said in 1989, he’s generally focused on the present and has forgotten (and therefore forgiven) all my transgressions from the past.

For another thing, they don’t talk as much as we do. That makes me the only one around here who goes on and on about how I feel. Thank goodness.

Finally, let’s not overlook their willingness to put themselves in uncomfortable and even dangerous situations for our comfort. This covers a range of behaviors, including giving us their jackets when we’re cold and risking their safety to protect us.

Men are not as complicated, require far less maintenance, don’t mind lifting heavy stuff and are easy to please. How many women can you say that about?
I thought so.

My thoughts:

A few things Vincent has done lately for me…..unplugging the sewer (yuck!),  visiting with my dad and watching the baseball game with him when he (Vincent) was pooped, supporting me with the blog….100%.

What about you? Do you have any examples of how your hubby did something (little or big) for you lately? How about an example of “Faking it till you Make It?” I’d like to hear from you today!

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Charity – Light and Peace, Quadrupani

sacredheartfrom Light and Peace, Quadrupani

1. Our divine Lord has said that His disciples should be known by their love one for another. This christian virtue of charity makes us love our neighbor in God, the creature for the sake of the Creator. Love of God, love of our neighbor,—these virtues are two branches springing from the same trunk and having but one and the same root.

2. Assist your brethren in their needs whenever you can. However, you should always be careful to consult the laws of prudence in this matter and to be guided by your means and position. Supply by a desire to do good for the material aid you are unable to give.

3. When your neighbor offends you he does not cease on that account to be the creature and the image of God; therefore the christian motive you have for loving him still exists. He is not, perhaps, worthy of pardon, but has not our Savior Jesus Christ, who so often has forgiven you much more grievous offenses, merited it for him?

4. Observe, however, that we can scarcely avoid feeling some repugnance for those who have offended us, but to feel and to consent are two distinct and widely different things, as we have already said. When religion commands us to love our enemies, the commandment is addressed to the superior portion of the soul, the will, not to the inferior portion in which reside the carnal affections that follow the natural inclinations.

In a word, when we speak of charity the question is not of that human friendship which we feel for those who are naturally pleasing to us, a sentiment wherein we seek merely our own satisfaction and which therefore has nothing in common with charity.IMG_3412 IMG_3417

*“Charity makes us love God above all things; and our neighbor as ourselves with a love not sensual, not natural, not interested, but pure, strong and unwavering, and having its foundation in God…. A person is extremely sweet and agreeable and I love her tenderly: or, she loves me well and does much to oblige me, and on that account I love her in return. Who does not see that this affection is according to the senses and the flesh?

For animals that have no soul but only a body and senses, love those who are good and gentle and kind to them. Then there is another person who is brusque and uncivil, but apart from this is really devout and even desirous of becoming gentler and more courteous: consequently, not for any gratification she affords me, or for any self-interested motive whatever, but solely for the good pleasure of God, I talk to her, aid her, love her. This is the virtue of charity indeed, for nature has no share in it.”—Saint Francis de Sales.

The literal and exact fulfillment of the evangelical precept is often found impracticable. How, we say, is it possible to have for all men indiscriminately that extreme sensibility we feel for everything that touches us individually, that constant solicitude for our spiritual or temporal interests, that delicacy of feeling that we reserve for ourselves and for certain objects specially dear to us?

—And yet it is literally au pied de la lettre, that our Lord’s precept should be observed. What then is to be done? An answer will be found in the following passage from Fénelon, and we shall see that it is not a question of exaggerating the love of one’s neighbor, but of moderating self-love, and thus making both the one and the other alike subordinate to the love of God:

“To love our neighbor as ourselves does not mean that we should have for him that intense feeling of affection that we have for ourselves, but simply that we wish for him, and from the motive of charity, what we wish for ourselves. Pure and genuine love, love having for its sole end the object beloved, should be reserved for God alone, and to bestow it elsewhere is a violation of a divine right.”*

5. But although it is forbidden us to show hatred or to entertain it voluntarily against the wicked and those who have offended us, this is not meant to prevent us from defending ourselves or taking such precautions against them as prudence suggests.

Christian charity obliges and disposes us to love our enemies and to be good to them when there is occasion to do so; but it should not carry us so far as to protect the wicked, nor leave us without defense against their aggressiveness. It allows us to be vigilant in guarding against their encroachments, and to take precautions against their machinations.

6. Always be ready and willing to excuse the faults of your neighbor, and never put an unfavorable interpretation upon his actions. The same action, says Saint Francis de Sales, may be looked upon under many different aspects: a charitable person will ever suppose the best, an uncharitable one will just as certainly choose the worst.

*“Do not weigh so carefully the sayings and doings of others, but let your thought of them be simple and good, kindly and affectionate. You should not exact of your neighbor greater perfection than of yourself, nor be surprised at the diversity of imperfections; for an imperfection is not more an imperfection from the fact that it is extravagant and peculiar.”*

7. It is very difficult for a good christian to become really guilty of rash judgment, in the true sense of the word,—which is that, without just reasons or sufficient grounds he forms and pronounces in his own mind in a positive manner a condemnation of his neighbor. The grave sin of rash judgment is frequently confounded with suspicion or even simple distrust, which may be justifiable on much slighter grounds.

8. Suspicion is permissible when it has for its aim measures of just prudence; charity forbids gratuitously malevolent thoughts, but not vigilance and precaution.

9. Suspicion is not only permissible, but it is at times an important duty for those who are charged with the direction and guardianship of others. Thus it is a positive obligation for a father in regard to his children, and for a master in regard to his servants, whenever there is occasion to correct some vice they know exists, or to prevent some fault they have reasonable cause to fear.

10. As to simple mistrust, which should not be confused with suspicion, it is only an involuntary and purely passive condition, to which we may be more or less inclined by our natural disposition without our free-will being at all involved. Mistrust, suspicion, rash judgment are then three distinct and very different things, and we should be careful not to confound them.

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Recognize Daily Opportunities for Success

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Each day is a new opportunity to grab hold of success, of nobility, of integrity! Little increments of time, in which we choose the higher road, is what makes our life a triumph. Let’s look at today as one long succession of opportunities to grow in grace and in character!

The Catholic Book of Character and Success by Fr. Edward F. Garesche

As you stand on the threshold of the future, what is before you?

You are an unknown quantity even to yourself. Your coming days are like a blank check in which you must fill the significant figures. They are like an empty page on which you must write the record of nobleness or ignominy or mere dull mediocrity.images

You have within you the stuff of heroes, and you have also within you instincts and tendencies that, yielded to, will make you a degraded criminal.

You feel the pull of opposite tendencies: now you dream of great things; now you are tugged downward by impulses of which you are ashamed.

But you are the captain of your own soul; you are the arbiter of your own destiny.

God and man both give you a fair chance, a noble opportunity. God has endowed you with a free will, the divine prerogative of choosing between good and evil. He has given you a body and a soul, both excellent and beneficial, the climax of His visible creation.

He has brought you into being, without a past, but with a splendid future, if you will seize it by your free and virtuous effort.

At the same time, you cannot be really free without having the choice between good and evil, and if you deliberately choose what is evil and base, you may have it and, with it, the dark consequence of a ruined life, lost opportunities, and dismal failure.

You have everything that you need from God to become a noble person, upright, God-fearing, respected, and successful, in the right meaning of success.

In what land on earth do you have brighter opportunities, greater rewards of service, a finer field of manly effort, than in our country today?

You are the heir of all the centuries in literature, in art, in science, in commerce, and in every avenue of achievement.

True, the world is full of temptations and opportunities for evil, as it always was, but it is full of far greater opportunities, far more multiplied chances, for good.

If you choose to invest your life as you should, you have a field of sublime excellence for that investment.

Your feet are set at the entrance to a great battlefield where the victors are all heroes. With courage, confidence, hopefulness, and steadfastness, you are sure to win, because you have nothing to fear but your own weakness, your own cowardice.

All people are, in a way, continually beginning, making a new start each morning and each new year….

“While there is life, there is hope,” as an old writer has said.

“Men are made of clay, and clay, though it is easily broken, is likewise easily mended.”

Even those who have lost the opportunities of youth and have hitherto made failures of their lives, may, at any moment, begin to struggle upward. They may recapture, by courage and resolve, the first glow of youthful virtue.

Success in life rests on definite principles and depends on each man’s free choice. According to those principles, it can be surely gained or surely lost, according to the workings of the great laws of human nature. Choose rightly, and you will make a success of life.

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Imitate the Holy Family

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From The Catholic Family Handbook by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik

The life of the Holy Family at Nazareth was a hidden life of prayer and work. Their whole day’s work was done for God alone, because prayer, simple and sublime, filled it completely.

A charming simplicity dominated each of their domestic duties. Their disposition was always serene, because the thought of God absorbed them.

Their hearts were in their home, and hence they could not be carried away on the stream of the world. They lived in retirement and poverty, being satisfied with only the necessities of life.

Sanctity was so carefully concealed beneath the quiet simplicity of their daily life that people did not realize the Son of God and His Virgin Mother dwelt among them.

How reverently did Mary and Joseph admire the beautiful example of Jesus! What food for thought was His obedience! His practice of this difficult virtue gave to the hidden life of Nazareth its sweetness, peace, and majesty.

Although He was the Son of God, He was subject to His creatures – for thirty years. The example of His loving obedience should be an inspiration to children. They can expect the blessing of He promised in the Fourth Commandment’ – if they respect and honor their parents.

We cannot measure the growth of Mary and Joseph in holiness. Grace poured constantly from Christ – its source – into their souls. While their hands were busy, Jesus absorbed their thoughts and affections and thrilled their hearts with the purest love for Him.

Divine love united them all in a holy, happy family.christchild12a

Our Lady is an attractive example for every wife and mother. Not only was she perfectly devoted to Joseph, her husband, but she was always an inspiration to him, especially in her love for her Son. It thrilled her with the purest joy to have so perfect a Model ever before her; to talk freely and often with Him; and to be so close an observer of His conduct.

She filled her mind unceasingly with thoughts of His virtues. She pondered all His words and recorded them in her heart, as the Evangelist remarks. She was absorbed in acquiring His spirit. She spent herself and was spent in learning the practical knowledge of Jesus Christ, and in so doing, she became the holiest creature who ever walked this earth.

Try to imitate this perfect dedication to God, and, like Mary, you will be most pleasing to Him and a source of inspiration and help to your family. Endeavor to burn with the same desire to imitate your Savior.

The practical imitation of Christ is your highest duty. Mary can best teach you to imitate Him, because she is the Mirror of justice, who reflects the spirit of Jesus most powerfully and most faithfully. Thus you will gain the knowledge that will aid you in bringing your family to eternal life.

As Mary, beautiful and perfect, is the sublime model for every Catholic wife, so Joseph, “the just man,”‘ gentle, kind, and chaste, is a model for every Catholic husband.

When God blesses your home with human life, the fruit of love, your family becomes like the Holy Family. In the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are exemplified the proper relations that should exist between husband and wife, parents and children.

By practicing the domestic virtues of charity, obedience, and mutual help, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph sanctified family life.

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The School Bell is Ringing….Are You Ready?

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back-to-school-e1373638734525With school just around the corner and so many responsibilities and things to accomplish, we may get a little nervous on how we are going to pull it all off.

I know, for me, summer time is so full, my days are bursting, that I truly wonder how I am going to “fit” school back in with all its demands.

I find my life goes in spurts. I am organized for a time, then it slips through my fingers for awhile. I have learned not to get discouraged, trusting that, with grace, I will get it together again. So I know what works for me and I know what doesn’t. Floundering does not work. :) It is always good to have a plan.

The following are a few things that help me along the way not to get too stressed. Maybe a point or two might work for you, too.

1. Make your list. If you are feeling overwhelmed you may think that writing it all down will make you feel more burdened. That’s not how it works. When you can get it down on paper, you can sort and prioritize. Those lowest on the “essential” list can be put on the next day so you can slowly work at getting them all done. If you don’t get it done the next day, continue to add it to the next one. Checking each thing off gives you a sense of accomplishment and energizes you!

2. Keep the house picked up. My corners aren’t always great but if you were to walk into my house at a given time, it would be generally clean….unless we decided to go play volleyball instead of doing the dishes right away (priorities, you know. :) )

3. Go to Bed. :) If I can go to bed and get up at consistent hours, it helps a lot. It’s important for the kids to do the same. Summertime is a season of later bedtimes. We loosen up the night time schedule and relax for a spell. It is quite refreshing….for a time.  I notice how much it affects the next day, these inconsistent and later schedules. That’s okay for a while during the summer but you wouldn’t want to do that during school days. So regularity on getting to bed is important.

4. Wake up at a consistent time, earlier than the family, if you can. With the demands of young children, and the lack of sleep that goes with that, this isn’t always possible. At times like those, we need to just offer it up. That being said, nothing helps me more than getting up before everyone else, getting my prayers said, and doing other duties before the family gets up. It gets me started on the right foot.

5. Plan Your Meals! Okay this one I am not very good at but, Wow! does it take the stress-load off!! I have periods in my life when my girls are taking over the meals so it is hard for me to get back in the swing of things when they are occupied with other life things. But it makes such a huge difference! So if you can get it together once a week to plan those meals, DO SO! It will make a positive impact on your week!

6. Get yourself fully dressed first thing, right down to your shoes. This will help you to get motivated to accomplish things right off in the morning.  I also wash my face with cold water first thing in the morning. I started that 2 years ago when we had the drought. It was a waste of water to leave the tap running until it got warm, so the cold water did the job and now I like the “pick me up” it gives me. Try it! :)For Always - 2zxDa-b25d - print

So…what kind of things make me feel more organized and on top of things:

!. Number one for me is sticking to my “Spiritual List”, starting with morning prayers and then the other simple spiritual things on that list throughout the day.   If I can check each of those off then I feel like I have accomplished the most important duty and can have the focus and grace to accomplish the other ones that fill up my day.

2. If I haven’t already got an ongoing chore list for the kids (better if it is made the night before) so they know what they should be doing, I make a quick one in the morning for each child. Then everyone knows what they should be doing and you don’t have to have your mind going in all different directions trying to figure out what needs to be done and who needs to do it! The kids are able to tackle their jobs and have the satisfaction of checking it off each time it is accomplished! (Mom….don’t forget to inspect those chores!)

3. Keep the house picked up. (I know, I talked about this already.) Don’t get obsessive about it, especially if you have young children, but periodically through the day get everyone to help with a “pick-me-up”. When you can look at a clean table and a generally clean house, it invigorates and at the same time relaxes you. It’s easier to focus on the next thing to be done.

4. Delegate. Remember, you are the supervisor. Of course, supervisors get their hands dirty, too, but if there is something that you can delegate, do. It helps the children to grow into responsible adults.

5. Don’t listen to negative self-talk. Don’t analyze it, just don’t listen to it. Period. It will bring you down and make you sluggish in accomplishing what you need to get done. Instead, look at your list and do the next thing, say a prayer, grab a book and read it, spend some time with the kids. It’s not worth listening to the rubbish that goes on inside your head.

6. DON’T feel sorry for yourself!! If you have lots to do, thank God for it. He will help you accomplish it….one step at a time. There are many lonely people in this world, many trapped in their addictions, many sad and discouraged because of broken relationships. Learn to thank God for what you DO HAVE and all the wonderful things you GET TO DO each day. Sometimes it just takes an attitude change. He never gives us more than we can bear. Believe it!

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Feast of the Assumption Coming Up on Friday!

I posted this excerpt last year before the Assumption. I find it very inspiring and a good reminder to do SOMETHING special for this wonderful Feast Day of Our Lady!

It is somewhat long but an easy read and will give you lots of encouragement to build some memories with your kids!

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From the book The Year and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland:

“Now what,” I asked, “shall we do for the Assumption besides having a procession?”

“A tea!” That was Peter. He’s for teas. It was Peter who thought up having the Mad Tea Party that time.

And a tea seemed like a good idea this time, what with an afternoon procession and a blessing and flowers and mint and things.

We called the Hobsons.

“We’re inviting you to a tea,” we said, “in honor of Our Lady’s Assumption, with a procession and a Blessing of Herbs and Flowers.”

“Oh, fine,” said the Hobsons’ mother. “We’ll wear our organdies. We always wear our organdies to teas.”

This promised to be very interesting since there are only two Hobson girls (their mother and Ginny) and the rest are boys.

At least, at the time that was how matters stood. There are now three Hobson girls. Anne Marie has been added.

Then we decided that we should have something special for our procession during which we would give the Blessing of Herbs and Flowers (in the new ritual it is called simply the Blessing of Herbs).

The blessing is traditionally given on August 15, perhaps because of the legend that the Apostles found flowers in the tomb where they had laid Our Lady; or perhaps because the Church wanted to Christianize the pagan custom of gathering herbs for medicines at this time of year.

At any rate, the legend about the flowers in her tomb and St. Thomas doubting is sufficiently popular to merit a telling, just so that everyone will get it straight that it is a legend. It goes like this (with many variations).

Our Lady fell asleep at last after the years of living with St. John and waiting for Heaven, and all the Apostles were gathered about her bed. Except St. Thomas. He was off in India preaching the Gospel and couldn’t get back on time, although an angel is supposed to have told him to hurry.

The other apostles carried her body to the tomb and laid it there, and sometime afterward they discovered that it was gone. They naturally concluded that it had been taken to Heaven (as indeed it had).

Then St. Thomas came home; and when they went out to meet him and to explain, he would not believe. He would not believe, the legend says, until he had seen for himself. So they took him to see where they had laid our Lady’s body and in its place were flowers.

Looking up, St. Thomas saw her going up to Heaven; and to convince him at last, an angel brought the girdle she had fastened about her robe and dropped it to Thomas.

It is a pretty story and parts of it are true, but frankly we doubt that St. Thomas had doubts again. You don’t do that sort of thing twice, not after our very Lord said to you, “You are a doubting Thomas. Come here.”

What is true is that Our Lady fell asleep. The word death is not used for Our Lady, because death is the consequence of Original Sin and a punishment for sin, and Our Lady was without the slightest taint of sin.

She would not, need not, have died, but merely waited for her divine Son to will that it was her time for Heaven, and then yield up her soul. We would have accomplished it this way instead of through death if God’s original plan had been permitted to unfold.

But instead of God’s original plan, we had Adam’s Original Sin, and that is how death came in its stead.

Mary was assumed into Heaven. At the end of Masses and after Benediction, when we say the Divine Praises, we add in praise of our Lady: “Blessed be her glorious Assumption,” which is what we celebrate today.

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Now back to our procession. With recollections of the magnificent banners and wall-hangings of our Grailville friends, a banner seemed in order – but one that we could design and execute in a reasonable time.

One day, for a special project, we shall work out a more elaborate hanging, with wools and velvets, sateens, yarns, chain stitch, feather stitch, bands and borders; but this day we had little or no time to spare.

So it was off to the linen trunk in the storeroom to see what treasures we could find. We found a small linen guest towel of bachelor’s-button blue, embroidered with cross-stitch roses, simple and nice. It made us think of the Mystical Rose.

And we found a white linen cloth, heavy as a butcher’s apron but fine as fine and bleached white with many washings and sunnings. Added to these were a length of white rickrack and a half-skein of white yarn, and our materials were complete.

We sewed a decorative M of the rickrack over the roses on the blue linen towel. We cut an oblong of the white linen large enough to double-hem the edges and leave a border of about one and a half inches of white around the blue.

We mounted the blue towel on the white linen, sewing it across the top only. We divided the white yarn into three hanks, braided it into a rope and tacked it across the top of the banner with equal lengths to hang loose down either side.

Next, John went up to the woods and cut a new shoot of oak about an inch in diameter and skinned the bark off. He sawed a two-foot length for our cross-piece, and we bound the banner to this, with white yarn at four places across the top.

Another length of oak about three feet long was the standard and we bound our cross-piece to it. There was our banner! It took about an hour, with children and Granny helping, before we had it finished and the threads and shreds swept up off the dining-room floor.

The next item was the Ritual, that slim black book the priest carries about when he gives the blessings, and a valuable addition to family life.

Then Stephen remembered something and ran into the study. Confetti! For over a year, we had saved a package of confetti, waiting for a feast of suitable magnitude before using it.

Feast days had come and gone, of magnificent magnitude, but we forever forgot the confetti. This was the day for it! Then we sat down, more or less, to await the arrival of our guests in their organdies.

As none of the Newland sprouts knows an organdy from a hole in the wall, there was wild anticipation.

At last they drove up, but in picture hats and blue espadrilles, in honor of Our Lady.

Also bearing with them a peach chiffon pie they had made to honor her and indulge all present, with a crown of sliced peaches decorating it.

We explained immediately that these were not organdies. Philip stood admiring them, nevertheless, as they dismounted from the station wagon. A three-year inventory of knowledge stored in his hard little head was clearly being examined for some clue to this apparel. Finally, he recognized the costumes. “`You look real nice in your cowboy hats and your bedroom slippers.”

The Hobsons thanked him graciously. After general clamor for a few minutes, customary as families assemble for any great event, we had a short discussion of Our Lady’s Dormition and Assumption with a clear explanation of the legend about the flowers at her tomb.

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Then we started out in this order: Stephen with banner. Mrs. Hobson with pewter mug of holy water and aspergill. Mother with Ritual. Ginny with confetti. A quick shift of aspergill to Peter as Mrs. Hobson picks up John Archer, who is afraid of goose and goats. Various additional children.

Arranged at last, we started with the flowerbed by the house where there is tansy, thyme, marigold, and an unidentified herb that will be a mystery until our herb lady comes back and identifies it.

The blessing begins beautifully with Psalm 64 which has wonderful passages in it for children. As we had just recovered from the fringes of a hurricane which, in turn, had put an end to our drought, these lines had special and eloquent meaning.

They shout and sing for joy. Alas, our procession seems to be one part reading and blessing, and one part shouting and singing for joy.

No loss: their joy is in the Lord, and if they are too little to stand still very long, psalms or no, let them shout and sing for joy.

This is the making of many memories and impressions, a mixture of blessings and sun and sky and happiness and family and home and our Lady Mother Mary; this is one of the joys of being a Catholic.

After a Gloria, the blessing continues, the leader reading the versicles, the others responding:

Leader: The Lord will be gracious.

All: And our land bring forth its fruit.

Leader: Thou waterest the mountains from the clouds.

All: The earth is replenished from Thy rains.

Leader: Giving grass for cattle.

All: And plants for the service of man.

Leader: Thou bringest forth wheat from the earth.

All: And wine to cheer man’s heart.

Leader: He sends His command and heals their suffering.

All: And snatches them from distressing want.

Leader: 0 Lord, hear my prayer.

All: And let my cry come unto Thee.

Leader: The Lord be with you.

All: And with thy spirit.

Then follow three prayers of blessing, the first of which reads:

Let us pray. Almighty, everlasting God, by Thy word alone Thou hast made Heaven, earth, sea, all things visible and invisible, and hast adorned the earth with plants and trees for the use of men and animals.

Thou appointest each species to bring forth fruit in its kind, not only to serve as food for living creatures, but also as medicine to sick bodies.

With mind and word, we earnestly appeal to Thine ineffable goodness to bless these various herbs and fruits, and add to their natural powers the grace of Thy new blessing. May they ward off disease and adversity from men and beasts who use them in Thy name.

Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.LowerFarmHouse(3)

We proceeded down to the vegetable garden and sprinkled the dill, and thence off to the brook, where the wild mint flourishes, singing “Mary, We Greet Thee” all the way (that is the Salve Regina in English).

Down along the brook is a magic place, with mint thick and tangled and wild grape and small willows and a hidden bed of forget-me-not.

We sprinkled that, and the flame flower far inside a thicket by a private stream of its own. Then we went further down to the place for sitting on banks and dangling feet. And here, with a story while tasting mint and other wild leaves that were not quite so delicious, everyone took off shoes and went wading, and the smallest ones sat down in the water in their clothes.

Then at last we threw the confetti. It was a glorious sight floating on the brook, sun dappling the water, sounds of children, sounds of water, smell of mint, everyone laughing and splashing, all for the honor and glory of our Lady.

Then back home, to the pie with the Mary-crown on it and the spiced tea with orange and clove (because Holy Scripture says that Mary is like sweet spices and aromatic balm”‘):a lovely end to a day that had started with the whole family at Mass and Holy Communion.

The fathers had pie saved for them in the refrigerator. Processions like this are a particularly motherish kind of thing. These things that take fussing and patience and holding hands while walking with very little people with incredible slowness are things mothers were especially well made for.

Lucky for mothers who have sunny afternoons to teach such beautiful truths and to make such beautiful memories as these of “her glorious Assumption”!

But suppose you live in the city, and there is no brook and no pasture, no wild mint or forget-me-not, or goose or garden or herbs to be blessed – what then?

Still, I would not give in. Somehow I would find a way to make a family celebration and a happy memory of the Assumption.

For some people, a trip to the nearby botanical gardens would be a lovely event for the afternoon. There are many more herbs there than in backyard gardens, and often there are also true Mary-gardens.

You could take along the Ritual, or the words to the blessing copied out of it, and a little bottle of holy water; and when you were alone together for a while, read the blessing over some small patch of fragrance somewhere out of the way where you disturb no one.

Or if there were friends in the country or the suburbs, I would plan a visit with them, a sharing of foods for a picnic supper and a procession to bless their flowers and herbs.

Or if there were no way to go anywhere, I would make it a celebration around the evening meal in the city apartment.

I would buy a pot of flowers, or a few cut flowers from a pushcart, and go to the grocer’s for some herbs. Celery, chives, parsley, endive, lettuce, and chicory are some of the common salad herbs we use all the time, without thinking of them as herbs.

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Mint for iced tea is another herb we use; so I’d find some of that. Then, when all the other dishes were ready, before mixing the salad or putting the mint in the tea, I’d have my family gather together around these lovely things and have the father or the oldest grown-up read the Blessing of Herbs, right in my own city apartment; or in my own room over my tray, if I lived all alone.

For dessert there would be spiced peaches or pears, and I would use cinnamon to spice them because Scripture says that our Lady is like the smell of sweet cinnamon.

The juice drained off any canned or stewed fruit, brought to a boil and then left to simmer a while with a little extra sugar and a stick of cinnamon, quickly prepares spiced fruit.

Do it the day before, then let it get nice and cold in the refrigerator. I would bring out a book from the library with reproductions in it of the early Christian masters – Italian, French, Flemish – and explain to my family the meanings of the fruits they used as symbols and have my children search for them in pictures. Libraries, encyclopedias, and bookshops will help you find information on symbols.

To decorate a city apartment for the feast, a banner such as described can be used without the standard; or a group of the fruits may be arranged in a bowl, or cut out in simple patterns from bright fabrics or old felts, sewed in a garland around a decorative M on heavy unbleached muslin or linen, or arranged in a group surmounted by an M and used as a center decoration on the table or a hanging on the wall behind it.

Children may make such a banner of colored construction paper and paste, cutting the fruits from paper, silhouette-fashion, and mounting them.

These symbolize only a few of the glorious virtues with which God adorned His Mother. Perhaps it is the most obvious thing in this feast that evades us most successfully.

We are so accustomed to understanding its meaning that we fail to understand it with impact: we will see her womanly, motherly, virginal, presence in Heaven.

This is the great triumph. A creature, child of Adam and Eve, flesh and blood like ourselves, not divine, has so dignified our race by her obedience that we are now adopted sons of God and heirs of Heaven.

And we will see her. Children always put it so well.

I asked them if they understood what Assumption – to be assumed into Heaven – meant. “Yes. Her whole self went to Heaven. Not one crumb was left.”

Only someone who lives with children and knows their language would understand.

They will say, “I love you so much I could eat you up.”

That is why “not one crumb was left” has such eloquent meaning.

Another said, “You mean our Lady is really in Heaven. And when we see her, it will be more than just her soul, but her real face, and her real hands, and her really real smile!” And it will be beautiful. There is a hint of it in her Mass: “The daughter of the King comes in, all beautiful: her robes are of golden cloth.”

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Smorgasbord ‘n Smidgens

I’d like to share with you today a few pictures and a few links….

My March birthday this year was sprinkled with friends, food and fun. How could you not have good times when you are surrounded by great people?

A couple of the friends who enjoy the family and are frequent visitors surprised me with two special gifts…an outside light and a little fountain! Our daughter, Rosie, schemed together the idea of putting the background to it. So she rustled up her helpers (her brother and brother-in-law) and made a lovely lawn landmark that we will all enjoy in years to come!

 

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Visiting with a dear friend. Father Lillard, at Ordinations this year:

 

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Babies! Babies!

 

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Father VanderPutten flew in from Nigeria for, what seemed to us, a short visit.

 

 

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Our cute little grand-people “hanging out” watching their hero…..their dad. :)

 

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Lovely Ladies, Lovely Flowers!

 

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LINKS!

The following links are a smorgasbord of some interesting, inspiring stuff that you may find valuable in your own life. It does not mean that I endorse the whole site, just the individual posts that I have linked to.

Often we talk about modesty for the ladies. This article, Modesty is for Boys, Too presents some practical guidelines for the guys, too.

I think we are all aware of the mind-blowing persecution going on in the Middle East. We have been offering our rosaries, our holy hours, and our masses for those suffering so much. This article, The Face of REAL Persecution will stop us dead in our tracks when we begin to complain about inconsequential things. We have SO MUCH to be grateful for!

Do you find yourself run ragged? Do you know your own limitations and how to say no? This article from the blog Life in the Shoe may help you to be more honest with yourself and others when it comes to setting practical and realistic expectations of your own boundaries. One of her opening lines is… “I would like to offer an observation that frequently we as women do tend to overdo what we do for others.  We do and do and do, run ourselves into the ground, get worn out and then we can’t function anymore.”

Show this to your kids. Texting and Driving is rampant in the young and old alike. We all need the reminder. It’s not graphic but has good statistics and is just a potent reminder.

Do you want to show your priest that you support him? Here are 19 Ways to Let Your Parish Priest Know You Appreciate Him

In this article, Michelle Duggar touches briefly on the topic of modesty with your girls and how important it is to have good communication with them so they understand the reasoning behind modesty. They can then make good choices. It is not all about just telling them “no”.

If you are always feeling like you have to provide for your children that special, thrilling childhood by regularly having “quality time” with them, think again. This article I’m Done Making My Kids Childhood Magical may relieve some of the stress load. We may not agree on all the points but the general gist of it is excellent.

GALLERY! (I told you this was a smorgasbord…..)  :D

This gallery includes my new necklace sets and some of my autumn items for sale at http://www.meadowsofgrace.com. Click on the first picture to view some pretties! :)

 

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Live, Instead of Waiting to Live

from Interior Freedom by Father Jacques PhilippeIMG_0840 IMG_0831 IMG_0839

Our present life is always something good, for the Creator has endowed it with a blessing He will never cancel, even though sin has complicated things.

“God saw that it was good,” the Book of Genesis tells us. For God, “seeing” means not merely taking note but actually conferring reality. This fundamental goodness of life is also expressed by Jesus: “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

Sometimes, though, it isn’t worry that causes us to focus on the future, but the hope of something better or happier.

It may be a very specific event, like a reunion with someone we love or coming home after a long, tiring journey.

Or it may be less well-defined: the time when things will go better, circumstances will change, life will be more interesting.

At present, we tell ourselves, we don’t really have a life, but later we will “live life to the full.”

There is nothing wrong with that, but it does contain a certain danger. We may spend our whole lives waiting to live. Thus we risk not fully accepting the reality of our present lives.

Yet, what guarantee is there that we won’t be disappointed when the long-awaited time arrives? Meanwhile we don’t put our hearts sufficiently into today, and so miss graces we should be receiving. Let us live each moment to the full, not worrying about whether time is going quickly or slowly but welcoming everything given us moment by moment.

To live today well we also should remember that God only asks for one thing at a time, never two.

It doesn’t matter whether the job we have in hand is sweeping the kitchen floor or giving a speech to forty thousand people. We must put our hearts into it, simply and calmly, and not try to solve more than one problem at a time.

Even when what we’re doing is genuinely trifling, it’s a mistake to rush through it as though we felt we were wasting our time.

If something, no matter how ordinary, needs to be done and is part of our lives, it’s worth doing for its own sake, and worth putting our hearts into.

LIVING IN THE PRESENT INSTANT:

Be docile and pliable in the hands of God. You know what you must do to achieve this.

Keep yourself at peace and in complete repose, never become upset and never trouble yourself about anything, forget the past, live as though the future does not exist, live for Jesus in every moment that you are living, or, better, live as though you have no life in yourself, but allow Jesus to live in you at His leisure; to walk thus, in all circumstances and in all encounters, without fear or worry as is becoming the children of Jesus and Mary; never think of yourself voluntarily; abandon the care of your soul to Jesus alone, etc.

It is He who takes the soul by force; it belongs to Him. It is therefore up to Him to take care of it because it is His property. Do not fear so much the judgment of such a tender Master.

Generally speaking, banish all fear and replace this feeling with love; in all of this, act gently, sweetly, steadily, without haste, without anger. Act as if you were dead when the need is there.

Walk in this fashion in all graciousness, abandonment and complete confidence. The time of this exile will end and Jesus will belong to us and we to Him.

Then each of our tribulations will be a crown of glory for us that we will place on the head of Jesus, because all glory is His alone.

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