Friday, April 27, 2012

New Books

Our next session will be on Wednesday mornings from May 2 through June 6.  On May 9, we will begin The Holy Way: Practices for a Simple Life by Paula Huston.  This book is the fruit of her experience with the monks at the New Camaldoli Hermitage in California, and her efforts to live their contemplative practices in her active life.  I expect it to bear great fruit in our own lives.  The book has five sections, so we will discuss one section per week.

We will also have a summer session from June 20 through August 22 (we will skip July 4).  Our summer read will be a new book edited by Hallie Lord called Style, Sex, and Substance:  10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter.  This one is getting great reviews from Catholic women, and is considered a must read.

As in the past, we will meet at St. Joseph Parish in Otis Orchards from 9:30 to 11:30 am.  Childcare is provided.  Everyone is welcome! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Welcome Sanctuary

Kelly Dolin has written an article, To Have a Voice, in appreciation of verbal children.  An interesting topic for another time.

It was the story in the middle of Kelly’s article about the Church Lady and the Mom that caught my attention.  Not too many years ago, I was, like Kelly, that Church Lady, critical of anyone who did not live up to my expectations of a good, faithful Catholic.  I am no longer a Church Lady; I can’t be.  I am now that Mom with the special needs children.  

During Mass a couple weeks ago, John and Gianna, both of whom have some sensory processing problems, were upset by the activity and noise in the Sanctuary.  So Matthew and I retreated with the two little ones to the vestibule (the cry room was just as busy and noisy).  We pulled out two chairs and each held a child so they could relax.  And without the activity and noise, both did relax.  

But as I sat there, I began to wonder what the Church Ladies thought.  Was I too lenient with my children?  Was I unfaithful to the Church?

There were others in the vestibule that day, a young couple with a toddler and a baby, and two dads each with an infant.  What did the Church Ladies think of them?  Did these moms and dads feel criticized for their decisions?

And what about the moms and dads and children in the cry room?

Do the Church Ladies know the trials and challenges that I live daily?  Do they know what struggles those parents face?

Having been on both sides, I know how easy it is to be critical of others, but also how discouraging that criticism can be.  I can only imagine how many struggling parents have simply given up trying to be perfect, and have stopped participating in Mass.  It takes a strong person to withstand the negative looks, words, and actions of others.

Let us pray that our Church will be a welcome sanctuary for all.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Creative Nature of Children: Caine's Arcade

After viewing this remarkable video online I started reflecting upon some of the lessons we can learn from this kid from East LA.  I think there is a lot we can learn.

Caine's Arcade

I first thought about this as a parent.  The boy's father was great in encouraging his kid to think outside the box.  Don't mind the pun. He challenged his child and offered encouragement.  How do we do the same with our own children?

Secondly I look at the mind power it took this young boy to create this magnificent arcade. Do we give our children enough credit for the awesome brain power they've been gifted with? I can honestly say I don't know I give my daughter the credit (although sometimes she slaps it across our face sometimes, she really is smart).

Then I began to think about Deanna's question to us regarding the Catholic Imagination.  How can we continue to foster our children's and our own?  Maybe we take a lesson from the father here, both the father in the video and our heavenly father.  Take the materials given and expand upon them.  Our Father has given us countless resources, the world around us, our community of women, our families, the Word and our Catechism.  Look around and think about how our Lord is trying to inspire us everyday!

I hope this made sense. Thoughts?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Divine Mercy

The Divine Mercy Novena begins today.  Every day, I face challenges that stretch my human abilities so I turn often to the Divine Mercy for comfort.  Even when I feel inadequate, I can trust God to love me through the storm.  Elizabeth Foss has a lovely reflection on this devotion.