A great reminder for your week! Pride goeth before a fall…
Do you ever have this feeling that you are better than your husband? Do you find you look down on him because he doesn’t quite measure up to your expectations of whatever……orderliness, manners, managing finances, education, etc. It’s easy to fall into this trap and to replay it over and over again in our minds. Continue reading →
Every January for the last seven years, I’ve taken the Complaint-Free Challenge: one whole month without complaining.
Of course, this has not meant ignoring legitimate problems. Will Bowen, author of A Complaint-Free World, makes a clear distinction between complaining and problem-solving. Complaining is making energetic statements focused on the problem at hand rather than the resolution, while problem–solving is speaking directly and only to the person who can resolve the issue. Continue reading →
This is a lovely excerpt about Christmas by J.R. Miller written in the early 1900’s…
We should not forget the word “peace,” in our lesson. “Peace on earth.” We should seek for the things which make for peace.
It is easy to misunderstand others, even our dearest friends. One may hold a penny before his eye—so that it will shut out all the beautiful sky, all the blue and all the stars.
It is easy, too, to make little offences grow large—as we brood over them, until, held up before our face—they hide whole fields of beauty and good in the lives of our friends!
An unpleasant word is spoken thoughtlessly by someone, and we fret and vex ourselves over it, lying awake all night thinking of it, and by tomorrow it has grown into what seems an unpardonable wrong that our friend has committed against us!
But Christ’s way is different—he turns the other cheek. He forgives, he forgets, he blots out the record—and goes on loving just as before—as if nothing had happened!
The Christmas spirit teaches us to deal in the same way with those who injure us. Life is too short to mind such hurts, which ofttimes are as much woundings of our own pride or self-esteem—as real injuries to us. In any case, heavenly love ignores them.
One says, “The hurts of friendship, of social life, of household familiarity—must be ignored, gotten over, forgotten—as are the hurts, the wounds, the bruises, the scratches of briers or thorns on our bodies!”
If we would make it really Christmas in our own hearts—we must learn to forget ourselves, and to think of others. We must stop keeping account of what we have done for other people—and begin to put down in place, what other people have done for us.
We must cease thinking what others owe to us—and remember what we owe to them; and that we own Christ and the world, the best we have to give to life and love. We must give up chafing about our rights—and begin to rejoice in giving up our rights and doing our duties.
Someone says that the best thing about rights is that they are our own—and we can give them up. We must no longer sit on little thrones and expect people to show us honor, attention, and deference, and to bow down to us and serve us—but, instead, must get down into the lowly places of love and begin to serve others, even the lowliest, in the lowliest ways. That is the way our Master did.
We must make Christmas first in our own heart—before we can make it for any other. A grumpy person, a selfish person, a tyrannous and despotic person, an uncharitable, unforgiving person—cannot enter into the spirit of Christmas himself, and cannot add to the blessing of Christmas for his friends or neighbors. The day must begin within—in one’s own heart.
But it will not end there. We must be a maker of Christmas for others—or we cannot make a real Christmas for ourselves. We need the sharing of our joy—in order to gain its real possession. If we try to keep our Christmas all to ourselves, we will miss half its sweetness.
There would seem not to be any need at the Christmastide to say a word to urge people—to be kind to others and to do things for them. Everybody we meet at this season, carries an armful of mysterious bundles.
For weeks before the happy day, the stores are thronged with people buying all sorts of gifts. To the homes of the poor—baskets by hundreds are sent, with their toys for the children. The spirit of giving is in the very air. Even the churl and the miser are generous and liberal, for the time. Everybody catches the spirit of giving, for once in the year.
But this is not the only way to do good, to help others. In a story, a good man says, “It’s very hard to know how to help people when you can’t send them blankets, or coal, or Christmas dinners.”
With many people, this is very true. They know of no way of helping others, except by giving them material things. Yet there are better ways of doing good—than by sending food or clothing. One may have no money to spend—and yet may be a liberal benefactor. We may help others by sympathy, by cheer, by encouragement.
A good woman when asked at Thanksgiving time for what she was most grateful, said that that which, above all other things, she was thankful for at the end of the year—was courage. She had been left with a family of children to care for—and the burden had been very heavy.
Again and again she had been on the point of giving up in the despair of defeat. But through the cheer and encouragement received from a friend—she had been kept brave and strong through all the trying experience. Her courage had saved her.
It is a great thing to be such an encourager—there is no other way in which we can help most people—better than by giving them courage. Without such inspiration, many people sink down in their struggles and fail.
Too many people—to far more than we think, life is very hard, and it is easy for them to faint along the way. What they need, however, is not to have the load lifted off, or to be taken out of the hard fight—but to be strengthened to go on victoriously. The help they need is not in temporal things—but in sympathy and heartening.
So far as we are told—Jesus never sent people blankets to keep them warm, or fuel for their fires, or Christmas dinners, or toys for the children. Yet there never was such a helper of others—as he was!
He had the marvelous power of putting himself under people’s loads—by putting himself into people’s lives. There is a tremendous power of helpfulness in true sympathy, and Jesus sympathized with all sorrow and all hardness of condition.
Jesus loved people—that was the great secret of his helpfulness. He felt men’s sufferings. In all their afflictions, he was afflicted. One said, “If I were God, my heart would break with the sorrows of the world.” He was blaming God for permitting such sufferings, such calamities, such troubles, as daily history records. He said God was cruel to look on in silence—and not put a stop to these terrible things. “If I were God, my heart would break over such anguish and pain as are in the world.”
He did not understand that that was just what the heart of Christ did—it broke with compassion, with love, with sorrow, over the world’s woes! Thus he was enabled to become the world’s Redeemer.
He was a marvelous helper of others—not by giving material things—but by imparting spiritual help. It is right to give gifts at Christmas—they do good, if they are carefully and wisely chosen and are given with the desire to do good. But let us seek to be helpers also in higher ways.
We can help greatly by being happiness makers. Someone says, “Blessed are the happiness makers. Blessed are those who remove friction, who make the courses of life smooth, and the fellowship of men gentle.”
There is far more need of this sort of help—than most of us imagine. We think most people are quite happy. We have no conception of the number of people about us who are lonely, and find their loneliness almost unbearable at such times as the Christmastide.
Perhaps nearly every one of us knows at least one person who will have no home on next Christmas Day, but a dreary room in itself, it may be—but made more dreary by the absence of home’s loved ones. You do not know what a blessing you may be to this homeless one—if you will in some way put a taste of home into his experience even for one hour on Christmas.
Jesus has told us how near these lonely ones are to him. He knew what it was to have no place to go at the close of the day—when the people scattered off, everyone to his own house leaving him alone, with no invitation to anyone’s hospitality and no place but the mountains to go for the night.
Then he tells us, that if we open our door to a stranger and take him in—it is the same as if we had opened the door and taken in Jesus himself. He is pleased, therefore, when, in any loving way, we make Christmas a little less lonely for some homesick one.
A word may be said, too, to those who will be alone on Christmas, who are away from their homes, or have no longer any home. There is a way in which they can do much to make the day brighter for themselves. Though no taste or touch of human fellowship and friendship be their that day—they need not grow disheartened. George Macdonald says, “To be able to have the things we want—that is riches; but to be able to do without them—that is power.” This is then the lesson of loneliness—to gain the victory over it.
One of the problems of life is to live independently of circumstances and conditions. Paul said he had learned in whatever state he was, therein to be content. The secret was in himself. He carried in his own mind and heart—the resources he needed. No matter how bare his life was of comforts, or how full of trials and sufferings—the peace and joy within were not disturbed.
It may not be easy for the lonely ones, lacking the companionship and fellowship of home and its happiness, to go through a Christmastide, as if nothing were lacking. Yet there is a way to overcome in great measure, the lack of fellowship.
Much can be done by thinking of others who are lonely, and doing what we can to carry cheer to them. In doing this—we will forget our own lonely condition. Then we can turn our heart-hunger toward Christ—who is always willing to give us his joy. Here is a little prayer for lonely people, which some may find fitting for the Christmastide.
“True, heroic virtue is rare and where it does exist, it makes so little noise!” -Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.
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Warning: busy times are ahead. ‘Tis the season for extra baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating and entertaining. Starting with the Thanksgiving holiday and ending with New Year’s, the addition of extra activities on top of our regularly scheduled lives can be a mite stressful.
I’m definitely in favor of doing the extras. Holidays mark the passing of the year. Traditions create a sense of belonging and comfort. Children relish those things that “we always do,” and the once-a-year foods and décor call up a sense of wonder and excitement like nothing else. But here’s a reminder: Don’t forget the small hours.
Don’t lose sight of the people that you live and work with during this busy season. Life happens in the moments. There’s a tendency to get impatient and frustrated with the moments when there’s so much to do. Changing diapers, wiping noses, taking time to listen to a co-worker or child’s story–we’re in a hurry to give it a slap and a promise so we can get to the important stuff. The reality is that the small hours ARE the important stuff.
All the little moments of life add up to memories, relationships and atmosphere. Our attitude in dealing with the little things affects the entire holiday season (and life year-round).
A certain holiday season stands out in my mind. It was busy as always, running from one activity to the next. The usual gathering of family for Thanksgiving, then before we knew it, Christmas. That year was especially hectic, as several family members were preparing to leave the very next day for a mission trip to Mexico.
I remember a poignant moment, captured on video, when each family opened a certain gift in unison. It was a patchwork quilt, crafted from scraps of Grandma’s dresses. The family had gathered for her funeral a few months earlier. The grown grandchildren examined the quilts eagerly, pointing out dresses they remembered her wearing. (Who says what we wear isn’t noticed by children?)
What I now remember is not so much the quilt, but the fact that we didn’t know it would be my brother-in-law’s last holiday with us. He was killed in a car accident on the return trip from Mexico a few days later, and life changed forever for the family. I remember having the feeling that I wished we could rewind, like an old VHS tape. But there are no rewinds, no do-overs, no going back and stopping the inevitable after it has begun.
This holiday season, which has already begun, stay aware of the small hours. Beware the tendency to skip reading aloud and tucking in bed. Live life at home intentionally, and keep things simple. Encourage and love by the caring actions of everyday life: cooking meals, brushing hair, doing laundry. Wherever you are, be there.
Childhood and life are fleeting moments, and our lives happen in these small hours.
Let us continue to add the soft straws of sacrifice and love to the Manger of our Hearts as we prepare for the coming of our Savior. Let us be more attentive to those in our home…where charity begins. “Home is the place where a man should appear at his best.” -Fr. Lasance, The Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2kljYp3 (afflink)
Beautiful and Graceful Religious Necklaces
Wire-wrapped, vintage brass look, these necklaces are unique! Get the necklace blessed and wear it as a sacramental!
I want to cite briefly a recent testimony to interior freedom, one both very different from and very close to St. Thérèse’s. It moved me deeply. It is the testimony of Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman who died at Auschwitz in November 1943, and whose diary was published in 1981.
Her “story of a soul” unfolded in the Netherlands at a time when the Nazis’ persecution of Jews was intensifying.
When Etty began to write her journal, her moral life was far from edifying. She was emotionally vulnerable, had no fixed moral guidelines, and had had several lovers. She was, however, driven by a powerful craving for the truth about herself.
Thanks to a friend of hers, a psychologist and also a Jew, she discovered (without ever becoming explicitly Christian) some of the values that lie at the heart of Christianity: prayer, the presence of God within herself, and the evangelical invitation to abandon herself trustingly to Providence.
Before she was finally deported to Auschwitz, while a prisoner in a Dutch transit camp, she showed a faith in God, courage in suffering, and a devotion to neighbor that demonstrated the reality of her spirituality despite the dark areas in her life.
It is astonishing to read how this young woman devoted herself to living by the Gospel values she was discovering little by little. Just when all her exterior freedoms were being progressively taken away, she discovered within herself a happiness and interior freedom that no one could steal from her from then on.
There is a very significant passage in her spiritual experience:
This morning I cycled along the Station Quay enjoying the broad sweep of the sky at the edge of the city, breathing in the fresh, unrationed air. And everywhere signs barring Jews from the paths and the open country. But above the one narrow path still left to us stretches the sky, intact.
They can’t do anything to us, they really can’t. They can harass us, they can rob us of our material goods, of our freedom of movement, but we ourselves forfeit our greatest assets by our misguided compliance. By our feelings of being persecuted, humiliated, oppressed. By our own hatred. By our swagger, which hides our fear.
We may of course be sad and depressed by what has been done to us; that is only human and understandable. However, our greatest injury is one we inflict upon ourselves.
I find life beautiful, and I feel free. The sky within me is as wide as the one stretching above my head. I believe in God and I believe in man, and I say so without embarrassment.
Life is hard, but that is no bad thing. If one starts by taking one’s own importance seriously, the rest follows.
It is not morbid individualism to work on oneself. True peace will come only when every individual finds peace within himself; when we have all vanquished and transformed our hatred for our fellow human beings of whatever race—even into love one day, although perhaps that is asking too much.
It is, however, the only solution. I am a happy person and I hold life dear indeed, in this year of Our Lord 1942, the umpteenth year of the war.
Interior freedom: Freedom to believe, hope, and love
The life experiences of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and Etty Hillesum indicate the next point we need to consider. True freedom, the sovereign liberty of Christians, resides in the possibility of believing, hoping, and loving in all circumstances, thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit who “helps us in our weakness.”
Nobody can ever prevent us. “For I am sure that neither death, nor life, not angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
No circumstance in the world can ever prevent us from believing in God, from placing all our trust in Him, from loving Him with our whole heart, or from loving our neighbor.
Faith, hope, and charity are absolutely free, because if they are rooted in us deeply enough, they are able to draw strength from whatever opposes them!
If someone sought to prevent us from believing by persecuting us, we always would retain the option of forgiving our enemies and transforming the situation of oppression into one of greater love.
If someone tried to silence our faith by killing us, our deaths would be the best possible proclamation of our faith! Love, and only love, can overcome evil by good and draw good out of evil.
Growth in faith, hope, and love is the only pathway to freedom.
The mother is the real homemaker. It is in her hands, that the tender life is laid for its first impressions. In all its education and culture, she has the main part. Her spirit makes the home atmosphere. The law of God makes the father the head of the household, and devolves upon him as such—the responsibility for the up building of his house, the training of his children, the care of all the sacred interests of his family. -J.R. Miller
A little update and prayers needed, please, before this repost of My Little Thanksgiving Story.
Please pray for our Rosie who continues to be very ill. She is still under the excellent care of the Benedictine Sisters in Gower, MO. They know their stuff…both medically and naturally so she is in good hands.
We went to bring her home but the Sisters offered to get more tests done….so that’s what we decided to do.
Their kindness, competence, patience and true Benedictine apostolic love has been astounding. We are so very grateful.
That being said, Rosie continues to worsen… Please keep us in your prayers. This mother’s heart is a worried one!
Taken a couple weeks ago. She is now bedridden. 😦
My Little Thanksgiving Story….
A repost for Throwback Thursday…..
Thanksgiving is almost here and it is always a good time to remember the many things we are grateful for! I have a couple of stories that happened in our life that shook me to the bottom of my toes but gave me so many reasons to be thankful!
Isn’t that the way? You don’t see it at the time, but, in hindsight, if we continue to “get better, not bitter”, we realize God’s goodness through it all!
2003 was our “Terrified-Going-Through-It” but “So-Thankful-For-Everything-in-Hindsight” year!
It was the middle of the night, Epiphany 2003, when we were awakened by the best and most efficient fire alarm ever…. three ear-piercing shrieks delivered by my 17 yr. old daughter!
It was 1 a.m. and Virginia was sleeping on the couch when our Christmas tree burst into flames – and I mean BURST! The flames licked across the ceiling and melted the laundry room door that was on the other side of the house! Within seconds the couch that my daughter was sleeping on exploded into flames! Inside 30 seconds all thirteen of us were out of the house and shivering in the cold! It was a frightening experience watching hearth and home going up in flames!
The rock and block structure of our house (thanks to hubby) was ok, so four months later, after the dust settled, we were back in our home. We remembered the many things we were grateful for: the elderly gentleman who opened up his home in the middle of the night to 13 of us and let us stay there until we found somewhere to live, the incredible generosity of friends and neighbors, the support of our pastor and parish, just naming a few!
We were very grateful for what happened the next day. You see, it had been a particularly rough winter financially. When you are a construction contractor, you live on the edge, especially in the winter. When the insurance handed us the $5,000 check to take care of our most immediate needs, it came in very handy! With the rest of the forthcoming money we were able to rebuild the house and finish off some much needed bedrooms.
A few months later, July 23rd to be exact, on a hot and sultry afternoon, I sent my daughter, Theresa, to go to the neighbor’s to get some sweet corn. The road had just been recently graveled but she was a very careful driver and I knew I could trust her. Jeanette, my 9 yr. old, asked if she could go, too. So off they went. An hour later I began to wonder where they were. Being a worrier, I told myself that it was silly to worry. I tried to put it out of my mind and I continued doing what I was doing. I heard a knock at the door. It was a man who said that I needed to call 911 because there had been a bad accident on the gravel road. When I asked him what vehicle was involved and he said it was our blue van, I fell apart! I asked him if they were ok and he said, “Well, they’re still breathing.” Yikes!!!
Within minutes, the emergency team, my husband, our priest and several other people were at the scene of the accident. It was every mother’s nightmare and I was a wreck! Theresa had to be life starred to Topeka and Jeanette was put in Intensive Care in Kansas City. She didn’t come to until 3 days later. I think the worst thing out of this ordeal was knowing that my girls were in the ditch for an hour, with Theresa trying to crawl to the road, fainting in and out of consciousness, and Jeanette pinned under the van…while I was sitting at home telling myself not to worry. 😦
Looking back, we again were able to find SO many things we were thankful for. For example: when Theresa was losing control and veering off the road she hit a sign! This pushed her forward several yards where she ended up rolling the van. If she didn’t hit that sign she would’ve went over the bridge and landed into the dry creek bed that was several feet down! That would not have been good.
Once again, the generosity of friends and neighbors was incredible. Within hours, someone had lent us their vehicle and gifts of all kind came pouring in. Meals were made for us for the next several days to ease the burden. Most especially, there were no lasting effects…Theresa has a titanium rod in her leg. We tell Jeanette that she was lucky to get away with just slight brain damage which makes her fit right in with the rest of us. 🙂
Those were a couple of the big things that reminds us of what we have to be grateful for. You probably have some of your own “big things” that has helped you to grow in love, patience and thankfulness.
But there are many, many more little things that happen in every day life that we can be thankful for. A good cup of tea or coffee? A homemade apple pie? A good movie? A stranger’s smile? A friend who cares? In this time of hard economics, just having a job is something to be thankful for. I’m grateful for the beautiful fall we have had. I grew up in Canada and at this time of year winter is getting its tight grip on each day.
Thanksgiving is a great time to remember those big and little things that each of us has to be grateful for. It’s also a good time to be thankful for the adversities in our lives because they have helped us to grow and to have compassion on others who are going through rough times.
Cicero once said, “A grateful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”
I read these words from a very wise woman: ” Learn to enjoy life. Be thankful. Smile. When you catch yourself becoming irritated or disturbed at circumstances, stop and laugh at the little things that steal your peace. Count your blessings and learn to be appreciative.”
If we remember to always count our blessings then Thanksgiving can be transformed into “Thanks living”. Not just the holiday but each and every day!
“No other work that God gives any of us to do is so important, so sacred, so far reaching in its influence, so delicate and easily marred—as our home-making. This is the work of all our life—that is most divine. The carpenter works in wood, the mason works in stone, the smith works in iron, the artist works on canvas—but the homemaker works on immortal lives. Whatever else we slight, let it never be our home-making. If we do nothing else well in this world, let us at least build well within our own doors.” – J.R. Miller
Beautiful Handcrafted Religious Necklaces, wire-wrapped, dainty….
This book, The Catholic Teacher’s Companion, has been a real gem! It was written for teaching sisters and this excerpt touches on the mental state of a person and how it affects one’s physical health….
From The Catholic Teacher’s Companion, 1924
In his helpful book Health through Will Power, Dr. James J. Walsh has drawn attention to the surprising power of the will for preserving or recovering one’s health.
The author draws on his wide reading and long experience to prove that the simple exercise of natural will-power is all that is required to cure half the ills of life. All the “dreads” can be cured by scientifically strengthening the will, and recovery from such diseases as pneumonia and tuberculosis depends largely on the patient’s vigor of will.
He counsels the use of the saints’ ascesis, in hours of stress and strain, instead of the “good cry,” which, in his opinion, only weakens the character.
The teacher has a double duty to perform in this respect, one toward herself and another toward her pupils.
Professor La Rue therefore demands justly in his book Psychology for Teachers, that the teacher live a life of mental health in the presence of her pupils; she must daily show them a living example of a big, strong, purposeful, well-poised, good-humored, sympathetic soul.
To this end he gives the following rules of mental hygiene:
1. Look at life in the large. Take a big view of things.
2.Pursue a great purpose. Whoever seeks his own selfish will is traveling toward zero; but he who seeks to serve mankind and her God in the children, is facing toward infinity.
3.Practice mental hardening. Children should be taught to meet and conquer all their ordinary worries and troubles, and not to shun them.
4.Keep your poise. Many people fail because of over-anxiety lest they fail.
5.Form good mental habits:
Habits of the intellect:
(1) planning: there should be an ideal for life, a plan for the year, a program for the day.
“The difficulty,” says Judd, speaking of over-worked teachers, in Genetic Psychology for Teachers, “is not so much in the fact that teachers have to think and plan, as that they come to their work in a state of mental confusion and excitement which renders any task difficult.”
(2) Concentration, unit-mindedness, the one-thing-at-a-time attitude, distinguishes the master mind. Work when you work and play when you play. One must concentrate on recreation as well as on work.
Don’t spoil your game or your walk by carrying all through it a load of anxious thought.
And on going to bed, learn to turn off consciousness as you do your electric light.
Observe that the child in school is prevented from planning the larger features of his work, and that school conditions often favor distraction rather than concentration.
It is sad to think how many children are probably contracting bad mental habits in school.
II.Emotional health requires that we kill off the feelings that are bad for us and practice those that are good for us.
There is reason to believe that a large proportion, if not the major portion, of those who lose their positions do not lack either intellect or skill, but emotional control.
Many are egocentric, paranoid, have too much self-feeling; others are emotionally unstable; and still others, emotionally weak.
One’s prevailing mental state should be that of happiness and humor. It is surprising to find how much can be accomplished by just setting the mind to be happy whatever the circumstances.
Humor is like an application of mental massage which flushes out fatigue poisons and limbers one up all through. It lets loose the tensity of mental currents. The mind seems to relax, straighten up from its work, and take a long, fresh breath.
III.Quiet but effective determination must keep the mental machine running smoothly, rousing us to kill off some thoughts and feelings and promote others.
God’s grace coupled with natural will-power can accomplish wonders with a frail body.
Almost every Religious Order has cases similar to that of the Master General of the Dominicans, Father Cormier, who being professed as a preparation for death, outlived all his fellow-novices, and having joined the Order to efface himself, was from the beginning put upon the candlestick to be a light for his brethren.
But even the confirmed invalid has a real mission to perform in the Religious Community.
Canon Sheehan contended that there should be an invalid and an incurable one in every Religious Community, if only to bring God nearer to the Brothers or Sisters in His great love.
“Every effort we make to forget self, to leave self behind us, and to devote ourselves to the labor of making every person with whom we are bound to live, happy, is rewarded by interior satisfaction and joy. The supreme effort of goodness is,—not alone to do good to others; that is its first and lower effect,—but to make others good.” Rev. Bernard O’Reilly The Mirror of True Womanhood, 1893 https://amzn.to/2o35uN3 (afflink)
Lecture on protecting your family from the neo-pagan society that we live in today. How to do that? Music, books, stories, liturgy, etc. are answers…..
Christmas Elegance Apron! Feminine and Beautiful! Fully lined, quality material, made for you with care and detail!
Vincent leads a Junior Legion of Mary in our home for the grandchildren…
As it gets close to Thanksgiving, I like to post this little story about Attitude. It is important to remember that no matter what we are going through, we have control over our thought processes.
It isn’t easy at times, it can be a fight just to remain above water, but when we cry out to God for help, let us also thank Him for all we go through because He WILL come. And He will help us to have a proper attitude through it all.
And when it comes to just the little things in life that bug us, let us remain cheerful. These are such sweet offerings we can give back to Our Lord who has given so much to us!
And now an update….
I would like to give you an update on a couple of things I have asked you to pray about…
I have gone for tests about my health, and….. they have found nothing wrong! So, even though it is perplexing…I take it as a great gift and an answer to prayer…thank you!
A little more perplexing is our dear Rosie who entered the convent about a month ago. Rosie has struggled with her health through the years but had been stable for quite some time before she entered the convent.
After she entered, she quickly spiraled downhill health-wise. The Benedictine nuns were overwhelmingly supportive and worked with her. But it became evident to Mother, after some serious symptoms that even made a run to the emergency room a necessity…that Rosie needed to come home.
So…we are picking her up today. Please continue to keep our Rosie in your prayers.
Rosie smiling through the convent window. 🙂
And now, My Little Story About Attitude
Life is 90% attitude and 10% circumstance. I like this saying. I use it on my children when they are giving into their “stinkin’ thinkin”! If it was my quote I would change it a little. Life is 90 percent attitude, coupled with faith, and 10 percent circumstances. We DO have choices on how we react to what life is dishing out!
I am very grateful that I have had some people in my life that have made a powerful impact on me because of their awesome attitudes, especially in the face of adversity! Today I would like to write about 3 of these people.
I met Kay when I was 18 yrs.old. She is a middle-aged German woman who always had a smile on her face and a ready laugh. Young people were attracted to her like a magnet. She was always available to talk to and had good, sound advice for the problems of youth. I was one of those people that was immediately attracted to Kay. I wondered how she managed to stay in a good mood…all the time!
ONE DAY Kay told me her story. She had been married and had 2 lovely daughters. She and her husband lived next door to Kay’s best friend. Life was going along great until one dark day when Kay found out that her husband was cheating on her…with her best friend. Not only was Kay heartbroken, she was incensed!
Kay is a strong German woman…emotionally and physically. You didn’t want to get her enraged! She took out her gun. She went behind some bushes and pointed the gun at her best friend. Kay wasn’t being dramatic. She was cold, dead serious. Fortunately she had one sane moment when she realized where this action would take her. Jail didn’t look too good. So she pointed it at her own head, once again took a second look at what she was doing (she was a Catholic), put the gun down and walked away.
She then began her journey groping her way out of her gloom. She lived on a dairy farm and every day she would go to milk the cows, pain and bitterness shadowing her every step. Through gritted teeth she would murmur bible quotes like, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” or “Rejoice in the Lord always again I say rejoice”! Slowly, slowly, it began to change her frame of mind. The cloud began to lift!
When I met Kay she was a dynamo of joy and strength. She had a love for life that was coupled with compassion because of what she had endured and overcome. Her situation hadn’t changed but she sure had! I lived with Kay and her daughter for about a year. I learned a lot from her. She was a true example to me of overcoming difficult circumstances through prayer and simple steps of changing one’s attitude.
Then there is Jim. Ten years ago Jim was a Harley Davidson guy. His way of life and his habits were quickly destroying him. One day Jim got into a terrible car accident!
He woke up from it and was not able to move his limbs! Jim was now a quadriplegic. He couldn’t move anything below his neck except his right hand – and he could only move that a little.
Now, when you go into Jim’s room it is quiet with no movement. It is usually dimly lit. Jim is laying on his back…and that’s pretty much it. It kind of gives one the feeling of walking into a tomb. Silence…stillness…solitude.
But it doesn’t end there. When Jim starts to talk you begin to see something very much alive! Jim will tell you, with his eyes sparkling, that he is happier now than he has ever been! It’s really quite astounding!
You see, since Jim had his accident, he became a Catholic. Through one of our Legion of Mary members who came to visit him often in the hospital, he converted. He now uses every ounce of his suffering for his wife (who left him after the accident), the conversion of his children and for the many families who have befriended Jim from our parish. He has many of our pictures up on the wall so he can pray for us all! He has a deep and incredible purpose in his life now and he knows his sufferings are like gold in the Eyes of God, if borne properly!
Physically, Jim’s quality of life had changed dramatically but his outlook is incredible. Now He has faith, hope and joy. Interiorly, Jim is a new man! There are people who visit him and walk away shaking their heads because of the irony of it. When I talk to Jim on the phone I get tingles in my spine, realizing what an awesome guy he is! He is an inspiration to all.
The last but certainly not the least person I’d like to talk about today is someone quite close to me – my husband, Vincent. Here’s a man who has an attitude with a Capital A. He told me that he tried to be in a bad mood once, but didn’t like it!
Here’s just a small example.
Our home is unique. It is built with a lot of used material and lumber and rock left over from Vincent’s jobs. It took us five years to get it barely to the point of being livable. It is made up of mostly block and rock and we built it when we had time and money (both of which have a way of not showing up at the same time!) Vincent worked on it after a hard day’s work…..for five long years. The house still had a lot of finishing to do but we finally moved in! Happy Day!!…considering we had been living in a one-bedroom little home with 7 children!
Vincent had finally and painstakingly finished our little Cathedral ceiling. It had sat there with insulation exposed for 3 years. He took some old pickets from a fence, planed them, varnished them and placed them in the ceiling! It was beautiful!
Shortly after, in 2003, we had a fire that could have taken some of our lives! When the firemen arrived they violently swung their axes into that nice cathedral ceiling! We gasped! Oh no! Not the cathedral ceiling…we waited so long for it!
They then began to heap the debris up into a pile when Vincent spotted something! It was his long lost wallet that still contained $500.00. He pulled it out of the mound, grinned and said a one-liner we’ll never forget, “This is my lucky day!” 😛
He always amazes me. It is difficult in this day and age to be the sole bread winner of a family of 13. I’ve seen him go through some pretty terrifying circumstances. When the dust settles or even before it does, he rises smiling, looking at the bright side of things, thanking God for everything He has given him! What an attitude!
When my dear husband is gone, he will certainly be remembered by his undying good attitude! Circumstances do not deter him. He knows he is a Child of God and he relies on his Faith to get him through! What a witness he is!
Did you know that researchers have determined that the average person thinks over 40,000 thoughts each day? Wow! That’s a lot of thoughts scurrying through our minds. If we analyzed these thoughts I wonder if we would discover just how much is negative self-talk. The exciting thing about it is that we CAN change our thoughts and in turn our destiny. How?
A wise woman once said, “I figure that practice makes perfect! I know people who, though they did not have a natural knack for music, started piano lessons and practiced every day. After 2 or 3 yrs. their fingers moved across the keys easily and their music sounded sweeter each time they played. If you ask them how they do it, they would answer ‘Practice. I have practiced so much that it comes second nature to me.’ Our life is like that. If we practice thoughts of joy and thanksgiving it will become easier and easier to have a good attitude, even in adversity.”
I am still practicing and learning these things. I will always be a student educating myself in the Book of Life. I’m really thankful for the people in my life that have led the way for me and continue to be a tremendous example of the power of an attitude.
Mothers, know how very special you are. You are the essence, the heart of your home. Your smile lightens the burdens, your words brighten the hearts of those who will be part of your festivities. The tone of this special family time is set by you! We, as mothers, are privileged to have such an important part in the making of our homes! May your day be filled with grace and love! -Finer Femininity
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To tell the truth, I’d been expecting this for and I’m surprised it wasn’t a problem before now.
Have you heard about the greedy king who died of starvation because he owned huge amounts of gold, but had no food at all?
There seems to be some mystique about money, which goes much deeper than its role as a means for acquiring other things.
Is it because money means security (or gives the illusion of security)? Is it because it opens the door to all sorts of enjoyments? Is it because it gives power?
Whatever the cause of the compelling attraction of money, your argument about it with Michael is typical. You want to use your income tax refund to make work at home easier by purchasing a dishwasher and a new toaster. Michael favors spending it on a stereo, elegant restaurants, and expensive wines.
“After all,” he says, ”We have a right to enjoy the fruits of our hard work.”
That you and Michael should have different wishes is absolutely normal. I’m convinced that men are usually more pleasure-seeking than women (though when women are addicted to pleasure, they often beat men at game).
And I think that because of their sense for concrete, women are likely to be more concerned about things that last.
As Chesterton jokingly observed, “A duchess may ruin a duke for a diamond necklace; but there is the necklace. A coster may ruin his wife for a pot of beer; and where is the beer?”
Regardless of which categories you and Michael fall into the question for you both is, “Who is going to win ?” In this particular case, you could try to appeal to Michael’s chivalry and explain to him that because of your busy schedules, a dishwasher (unpoetic as it is) should be given priority, even though it doesn’t deserve to be compared to a stereo which can give keen artistic enjoyment. This approach accomplishes two things: It acknowledges the legitimacy of Michael’s wish (which will please him) and hopefully it will convince him to purchase the dishwasher (which would be very helpful to you).
In this case, adequate reasons can be give to resove the dispute in favor of the dishwasher.
But other cases arise in which the reasons on both sides are equally strong. These disagreements are harder to resolve, since each of you will think that his case should carry the day.
To ensure that such disputes don’t get out of hand, you and Michael might try now to establish ground rules for resolving future disputes.
One of the key rules, I’ve found, is that discussions shouldn’t take place at the wrong moment – when one of you is tired, pressured, or rushed.
It’s important to choose a favorable time, when you both are in a loving, recollected mood. Then peacefully discuss the pros and cons of your differing views, seriously trying to understand each other.
Don’t begin like two duelers whose only aim is to win. I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly disagreements will be resolved if you wait to discuss them in this way in favorable circumstances.
In many cases you may both be able to compromise or one of you may give in with the understanding that the next time, the other will give in. Especially when the arguments on each side are equally weighty and there is no easy way to resolve the issue based on the evidence alone, keep in mind that the person who gives in out of love is always the greater one.
This sounds paradoxical, for the winner is usually considered the stronger.
But there are two ways of losing. One is out of weakness: the other person has a more powerful will and forces you to yield. The other type of “losing” is in fact a tremendous victory.
Think of the mother who gives her child the better portion of food because she loves him! Imagine the husband or wife who gives in, not out of weakness, but out of love.
This spouse is by far the stronger one, for he’s achieved the most difficult of all victories: conquering his own self-will.
He who truly loves, desires to do good to his beloved. He who wants to “pull the whole blanket to his side” and has very little concern about the other person, is a sorry lover.
This will sometimes mean denying yourself for the sake of a greater good.
As Cardinal Newman once wrote, “No two persons perhaps are to be found, however intimate, however congenial in tastes and judgments, however eager to have one heart and one soul, but must deny themselves…much which they like or dislike, if they’re to live together happily.”
Money and most of the other things you may fight about are very insignificant things compared to love. Isn’t it a form of madness to endanger the precious gift of marriage over such secondary disagreements?
I’m sure that by now you and your dear Michael have reached a loving solution and have discovered that yielding can be a mark of great strength and that more importantly, yielding is often an act of love.
With all my prayers for you and Michael as the holy feast of Easter approaches, I am,
There will be loveliness, too, in the home where true love causes order and comfort to reign. For the poorest room can be made lovely by a woman’s cunning hand. She can have flowers at her window, and flowers on her mantel and her table. And the curtains of windows and beds may be beautified by some simple ornament devised by a woman’s taste and executed in spare moments by the hand of even the busiest. -Fr. Bernard O’reilly,The Mirror of True Womanhood http://amzn.to/2t7GyVt (afflink)
These graceful Vintaj necklaces can be worn every day as a reminder of your devotion to the Blessed Mother or your favorite saint. Get it blessed and you can use it also as a sacramental. Each link of the Vintaj wire is hand-made and wrapped around itself to ensure durability.
So this book, Hands Free Mama, has been valuable for me. It reminds me of my priorities…what could be more important than my family? To be present to them is the most important thing of all!
I remember Colleen Hammond, the author of Dressing With Dignity saying that if she helped a million women dress more modestly but lost any of her children through mixed priorities, what would it all be worth? Nothing!
So….be available to your children. Work hard on it. It will be the one thing that will matter most to you when you enter your golden years….that you have not put your dear ones on the back burner!
When my daughter received the DVD boxed set of Little House on the Prairie for her birthday, I was nearly as excited as she was. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve cuddling with my family as life in Walnut Grove played out on a static-lined television screen.
Yet when I looked at the discs and realized there were forty-four Little House episodes, my first thoughts were very Non – Hands Free.
I looked at that collection of DVDs and saw forty-four opportunities to be otherwise highly productive. Although my inner drill sergeant doesn’t hold as much authority as it once did, that demanding voice of productivity and efficiency still tries to tempt me to the other side — straight into the arms of distraction.
Just think how much you could get accomplished while the girls watch Little House. They will not make a peep for the entire fifty-minute episode, and in that time you could easily knock several items off your to-do list!
But my Hands Free inner voice gently reminded me about what really mattered. This is your chance to sit your constantly moving body down on the couch, hold your daughters, and be a part of their world. Don’t blow it.
So after dinner the following Friday night, we put on our pajamas, popped popcorn, grabbed the softest blankets we own, and pushed the Play button on episode one, “A Harvest of Friends.” I was the first to find a spot on the couch.
And just as my backside hit the leather, my two children drew to my sides as if they were being sucked toward me by the world’s most powerful magnet. One child magnetized to my left, the other to my right.
Not even the tiniest popcorn kernel, should it fall from our hands, could come between this solid mass of togetherness.
Sit on the couch much, Rachel Stafford? I decided this was not the time to berate myself for not doing more couch time with my children.
It was time to enjoy this moment, the one I chose over dishes, laundry, writing, cleaning, emailing, or multitasking all five activities at once.
I had gotten this choice right. And I got the following forty-three consecutive episodes right too. I stayed true to the promise I made myself.
Little House means family time, and my children are fully aware and delighted that we do this together. For that fifty-minute period, I am not a moving target that my daughters have .01 percent percent chance of hitting.
Instead, I am available to sit there and simply love them. I don’t really like to think about it too much, but my older child will only live in my house for ten more years. Ten years. That’s nothing — the blink of an eye.
And if I continue darting about the house, going from one activity to the next for the remaining ten years, I can be sure of one thing: I will not hear my children’s thoughts, questions, revelations, troubles, or triumphs.
Because here’s some reality: No child wants to talk to the back of a parent’s head. No child wants to make an appointment to get a little of a parent’s time. No child wants to talk to a parent who can’t look up from distraction long enough to make eye contact.
Thanks to an experience shared by a blog reader, I’ve been given some insight about what children do want from a parent.
My eighteen-year-old son who left for college in August called me on Sunday night. After we had the “How are classes going?” conversation, the “How much money is in your account?” conversation, and the “Do you have any clean laundry?” conversation, he said, “I really miss you, Mom.”
I was thinking, Yes, I’m sure you do miss me — washing clothes and making dinner.
It was then that I asked him, “Oh, yeah, what do you miss about Mom?” His answer was simple, but it stunned me. “I miss just talking to you. You know, at the end of the day, when we were both home . . . I miss talking to you.”
Before I knew it, I was crying. Of all the things I had done for him as his mom, the thing he missed the most was talking to me.
A few days after reading this, I was gathering activities for Avery to do while we sat at Natalie’s swim meet. Normally I would have packed my writing folder, but it struck me that maybe this was not an opportunity to check something off the list . . . maybe this was an opportunity to be available.
I left my work at home and instead brought a few of my daughter’s favorite books and a snack to share.
Avery spent a lot of the time just sitting on my lap — a lap that, for once, was empty. We had the most wonderful conversation and snuggle time.
As my legs grew numb under the weight of her body, she turned to me and said nine of the most blessed words I have heard since beginning my journey to live Hands Free. “This is the kind of mom I always wanted.”
By “this” I knew exactly what she meant.
Completely available to love her.
“Your work as parents, therefore, is a holy and religious work. You may produce doctors, lawyers, scientists. But to the extent that your children do not reach heaven or are given every opportunity to do so, you have not succeeded. And you will begin to realize the full potentialities of your vocation when you see your family in this light.
In the face of such widespread error, the Church turns hopefully, as she did two thousand years ago, to the family. She would (1) have you recognize the Christian dignity of marriage; (2) strengthen your determination to live your family life in Christ and for Christ; (3) confirm your resistance to the pressures which threaten to destroy family virtue and domestic tranquility; (4) inoculate your family against moral contamination.
For no matter what evil influences flourish outside your home, your family can be an impregnable refuge of Christian life.” -Fr. George Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook https://amzn.to/2vycp4R (afflink)
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