Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Targeted Homilies

There are lots of times when I'm at Mass where I feel like the homily is so specific that it seems as if it's practically targeted at me.  Most of the time it doesn't bother me because the topic is still broad enough that it's not like it has completely zeroed in and locked on me as it's specific target.  And let's be real, no one is writing a homily with me in mind, at least I hope they're not.  I suspect those homilies that seem to really hit home are just the Holy Spirit at work trying to make sure I get the point.  That wouldn't surprise me given how stubborn I can be.

So the point of this is simply that I've noticed this less than awesome trend where I go to confession, which is pretty much every other week for the most part, and a few days or even a week later a homily comes along that is so close to what I was told by the priest in the confessional that I'm left wondering if perhaps Father thought I wasn't really listening to what he said the first time around. (99% of the time I really am listening and spend days afterward reflecting on it.  Putting it into practice, however, is another story.)  But mostly, I find my thoughts drifting towards wondering if the look on my face matches the internal cringing feeling that washes over me.  Even more uncanny is how well the readings for Mass also seem to fall into place with reiterating whatever it was that I was told in the confessional.  Is this all just mere happenstance, or is there something more going on?

Whether it's deliberate or pure coincidence I will say that I certainly drives home the point.    Who knows maybe I'm such a frustrating work in progress that I'm not the only one who thinks I make the most painfully slow spiritual progress.

What I found interesting at Mass this morning was how the homily appeared to be expounding on a couple of points that were mentioned to me on Saturday.  In particular, how using Mass almost as an escape to a bit of peace in my otherwise frenetic day isn't the right way of approaching it, even if it is essentially what keeps me focused and centered on my end goal.  So if nothing else, more clarity was given, which is probably a good thing.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} My Little Man

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life...

{Pretty}
Can you believe how big my handsome little Man Man is?  He'll be six month's old on All Saints' Day.  His expressive eyebrows remind us of Muppet characters.


{Happy}
You wouldn't know this thanks to my incredibly sparse blogging, but every Thursday since Anthony was one week old, I've been taking pictures of him on the chair in the nursery with this bear.  Today he decided after a few pictures that he was going to snuggle with his bear.

{Real Funny}
Bryan snapped this picture of Anthony tonight.  I love his expression.  This little guy has to be our most expressive baby ever.   Oh and did you notice that he's sitting all by himself?  Last week he figured out how to sit up on his own and now he does it quite frequently.  A few days ago he started getting up on his hands and knees and rocking back and forth.  He'll probably be crawling soon enough!

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Making an All Saints Costume from Elsa

My two older daughters participate in our parish's youth groups and this is the time of year where they have events where they can come dressed up as a saint.  Last year Madeline dressed as St. Cecelia by taking a pretty pink princess costume and adding a golden harp made from cardboard.  Ellie dressed up as St. Elizabeth of Hungary using a queen costume we had already and simply adding a basket with some plastic rolls and tissue paper flowers.

When Ellie decided that she wanted to be Elsa from Frozen for Halloween I started wondering if there was a way for me to turn this costume into a saint costume.  So after thinking about it and doing a bit of google searching, I decided that this pretty blue costume might work as an Our Lady of the Snows costume.  So with the addition of a swaddled Bitty Baby and a bridal veil that had been given to us years ago as a possible first communion veil, we have a nice costume for a Marian title that oddly enough a lot of people don't seem to know about..


Ellie likes her Our Lady of the Snows costume and I'm pretty excited that her Halloween costume will do double duty this year.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quick Takes: On My Mind


~1~

I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do.  I really wish I could blog a bit more since this space is pretty much where I record milestones the kids hit and things of that nature.  I feel like I'm totally dropping the ball with recording what has been going on with Anthony.  Can you believe he's already five months old?

~2~
We have the first quarter of the school year behind us.  This week we began the second quarter.  I'm waiting on some grades for Madeline but all of Ellie's grades have come back and she's done incredibly well with everything.  Her lowest grade for the marking period was an A- and she's very proud of herself.

~3~
About a month ago we looked into getting Katie evaluated to see if she could benefit from speech therapy since she doesn't talk a lot.  I took a week and a half for the place we called to let me know that there is about a four month wait to get an appointment.  The whole thing has me feeling frustrated.  I am noticing that she's speaking more but it seems like she has some days where she picks up a lot of words and then we hit a dry patch where she seems to prefer not using those words.  I am finding that she's talking more now than she did two months ago, but I still feel like she's behind.  The most frustrating part is knowing that she can talk but pretty much chooses not to.  

~4~

Anthony is an active little guy.  He log rolls when he wants to get to one of us or a toy.  Last Saturday he was in the family room playing on a quilt with some toys and he rolled into the kitchen where Bryan and the girls were doing something.   He will even just roll around the perimeter of a room to play with different toys.  He certainly likes to explore!

~5~
Madeline and Ellie have soccer tournaments this weekend so they'll be busying playing lots of games.  I started feeling a bit under the weather last night so I think the little ones and I will probably stay home.  I'm not sure if it's my allergies that are bothering me or if I'm coming down with a cold or something.

~6~

For the past month we've been trying to get Anthony to eat baby food and he's not the least bit interested.  The first few times we tried giving him food he ate a little bit of it.  We had one night where he ate a decent amount and then about an hour and a half later when I was nursing him he had a very scary spitting up incident where he projectile vomited for what seemed like several seconds with garden hose velocity.  He actually seemed limp towards the end of the episode.  It ranks as one of the scariest parenting moments I've had.  He seemed very shaken up about it and I certainly was, too.  Ever since then he pretty much refuses to even swallow anything I give him on a spoon.  If I put it in his mouth he pushes it out and won't open his mouth.  I'm hoping that he'll be willing to try food sometime in the near future.  I think he might associate baby food with the scary vomiting incident.  Can a five month old make a connection like that?  It's the only thing that seems to make sense.

~7~

Katie will turn three next week.  It's so hard to believe that she's already that old.  It seems like the older I get the faster time seems to fly.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Review: Sacred Fire

As a convert to Catholicism, I have encountered more than a few devotions which I had or have a hard time wrapping my mind around.  In most cases, delving deeper into why that particular devotion is practiced or learning the origins of it has been enough to essentially pull me in.  In a few instances even after having read several books on the subject matter I'm still left feeling skeptical.  For me, the Sacred Heart has been one of those devotions that I simply didn't get, yet, at the same time I've felt more and more of a pull to learn more about it.  At times, I felt like it was something that was following me just waiting for me to finally get it.  Over the past year or so, I've gained a better understanding of the Sacred Heart, but still I felt like I needed more clarity, and that clarity, for me, has come in the form of a book called Sacred Fire Practicing Devotion to the Heart of Jesus.

Philip Michael Bulman's book essentially takes you right down to the roots of the Sacred Heart devotion and explains it so well that everything seems to fall into place and make perfect sense.  The book is arranged in two parts.  The first part: A Heart Open to All  of Humanity gives us the background story of this devotion and the stories of some of the saints who have revealed so much about the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The second part of the book did a beautiful job of explaining the elements of practicing the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

I had the hardest time putting this book down as I read it.  It's a wealth of information on the roots and history of the Sacred Heart devotion and I found the more I read, the deeper my appreciation for the devotion grew.  I've read several books on the Sacred Heart and I'd have to say that this one did the best job of getting to the heart of the devotion and explaining it in such a way that was so simply put that my previous hang ups surrounding the devotion dissipated.

The book is an enjoyable read and one I certainly recommend for someone who is interested in understanding more about the Sacred Heart devotion.  I came away from this book very happy that I had invested the time in reading it.

I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.  You can take a peek inside this book at Amazon.com.


Friday, September 12, 2014

We Have a Teenager!

Every year on the anniversary of 9/11 we watch some of the documentaries that tell about that day where our world as we knew it was forever changed.  Even now, thirteen years later, that day still seems surreal.  I remember much of what I did that day quite vividly and I suspect part of that is due to the fact that it was also the day I went into labor with our first child.  In the small hours of 9/12 less than eighteen hours after the first plane hit the World Trade Center I was holding a small little baby in my arms and marveling at how amazing it was that Bryan and I actually had a tiny baby girl.  We had no idea what adventures lay ahead of us.

That little baby is no longer little.  She's grown so much and while she may drive us crazy at times, she also amuses us with her antics, her quirky outlook on life and her many quotable comments which those of you who happen to be my friend on FaceBook have no doubt seen.  From "crapple juice" (that's cran-apple to the rest of us) to "ravenous bears" striking poses in populated areas, she always keeps us laughing.

One can only imagine what the upcoming year will have in store for us.  I know she'll be confirmed sometime in the spring and she'll also graduate from 8th grade.  Before her next birthday she will officially begin high school.   I'm sure there will be plenty more Madeline quotes along the way and many more stories to be told.  It's always an adventure!

So happy birthday Madeline!  I hope your first year as a teenager is a fun one!  Try not to drive me insane....at least not deliberately.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Where are the voices?

Of all the things in recent modern history, what sticks with me, perplexes me and even haunts me frequently enough when I sleep is the Nazi Holocaust.  From about 6th or 7th grade on up I learned so much about the Holocaust in school.  I went to a college that at the time was one of only a handful in the nation offering a degree in genocide and holocaust studies.  One of the professors, who you would regularly see around campus was a concentration camp survivor.  He was a voice who was well known for making sure the atrocities committed would not be forgotten.  I honestly thought that such atrocities were something we wouldn't see repeated in my lifetime.  But, I was incorrect in my assumptions.

Even people like myself who sort of live under a rock and don't watch the news very often (I do read it online.) are aware of the crimes against humanity being committed over in Iraq and Syria courtesy of ISIS.  For the life of me, I cannot understand why this hate filled group isn't being stopped.  As a mother, I'm sickened when I read stories about children being systematically beheaded.  I try to imagine how anyone can bring themselves to slaughter innocent men, women and children, but the fact is there's no way to rationalize such a crime or the thought process behind it.  It's just flat out evil and those carrying out these acts are monsters.

Please take a moment to  watch the video below hear what Cardinal Wuerl has to say about this genocide.  He raises an important question: Where are the voices?  Watch the video and then be one of the voices.  Don't be silent, silence is as good as condoning these atrocities.
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