Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lenten Challenge Update

I've finally done it. Ha
A meaningful reflection is complete and on the page. Let me know what you think!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mass Help for little ones

I came across this wonderful tote bag for little ones and thought I'd share it with you!
Designed specially with our youngest Catholic friends in mind, My Mass Tote is sure to keep small hands content during Mass. It comes with a coloring book, a picture missal and Noah's Ark Lace 'n Trace (a fun pack of sturdy, shaped lacing boards consisting of Noah, the Ark, 8 bright animals, and 8 laces). Our jute tote features a wipe-clean interior, and a colorful exterior imprinted with the Hail Mary prayer on one side and the Our Father on the reverse. Tote measures 12" x 10 1/2".

Thursday, March 22, 2012

St. Mary in the Sky

The Feast of the Annunciation has special significance for our group, so I thought that you might enjoy this story about the arrangement of certain stars and the moon in the night sky.  The Annunciation is normally celebrated on March 25; however, because the 25th is a Sunday, it will be celebrated on March 26 this year.   

Monday, March 12, 2012

Simple Living

(Book Study:  Ten Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker - Habit #8)

Habit #8 (Find Ways to Live Simply) is one of my three favorites.  Simple living has been my goal for several years now, but the progress has been slow.  However, in the past three or four months, I have stepped up my efforts to declutter, organize, and clean my home.  Simple living is just as much about our interior life as our exterior one, but I believe the latter is necessary for the former.  My own goal is not only a beautiful home, but more time for family, more time for quiet and stillness.  I think that busyness has replaced idleness when it comes to the work of Satan.  Without solitude, we don't have time for prayer or creativity.  And solitude is best achieved in a decluttered, organized, and clean environment.

As you know, Jessica is doing "40 Bags for 40 Days" this Lent in an effort to organize and clean her home.  I am not doing anything quite as direct, but for several months, I have been learning to use a card-file system outlined in Sidetracked Home Executives:  From Pigpen to Paradise by Pam Young and Peggy Jones.  Another sidetracked home executive (S.H.E.) offers help at S.H.E.'s Organized.

If you are looking for inspiration or help, a quick Google search offers many resources.  Here are two of my favorites - Organized Home and Smart Martha.  Smart Martha is maintained by Tami Kiser, the author of Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms, and it offers ideas for celebrating the Liturgical Year within the home, in a printable format.

What are your favorite resources, either books or websites, for simple living?  How do you keep your own home organized and clean?       

Friday, March 9, 2012

Save the Storks

Here is a pro-life project that is sure to make a big difference.  As woman arrives at an abortion clinic, she is invited to take a free pregnancy test and have a free ultrasound, all within a small medically equipped bus parked near the clinic.  If she is pregnant, she is offered a cab to take her to a crisis pregnancy center for assistance.  The approach is simple and non-threatening, and the initial success of a similar project suggests that it will prove devastating to the abortion industry.  This link provides pictures of the bus.  And check out the man behind the project - not quite what you expected, huh? 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cleaning Up Our Expectations

(Book Study:  The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker - Habit #7)

Life is messy, clean it up.  Wouldn't it be lovely if everything could be fixed with a paper towel!  

In chapter seven, Meg addresses the messiness of relationships with our children, and the need to set realistic expectations so that we can truly love them.  We know that healthy expectations create healthy relationships, yet we still struggle to establish them.   Although we know that our Catholic Christian values are at odds with the secular culture's values, we don't always recognize when the culture has shaped our expectations or, if we do, we don't know what to do about it, or don't have the courage to do it.  But making the effort to set realistic expectations results in better relationships with our children.  

I am involved in my children’s education, but I am learning to resist some of the pressure.  A few years ago, I told my son’s kindergarten teacher that I didn’t do homework, and as a result, he received poor marks for effort.  But it was still the right decision.  After nineteen years of parenting, I have learned to lower my expectations for academic success.  Granted, some of my children are very intelligent and do very well in school, but not all of them are “A” students.  As I have relaxed this standard, I have enjoyed watching my children excel in other areas of life without guilt.  For example, two of my children have musical talents, and I encourage this interest although it limits their ability to take some academic classes such as third and fourth year Spanish.

Now it's your turn.  Have your expectations changed over time?  How have they changed?  Did this lead to a healthier relationship with your children?  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Your Authentic Self

You might like this post from Elizabeth at In the Heart of my Home.  It fits perfectly with all that we are learning and discussing at our weekly meetings.  May God bless your day!

As you grow comfortable spending time alone and recognizing who you are right down to your core--when it's just you and God, without the impressions of the people around you--give that authentic self to the people you love. God gave the people in your care to the authentic you He created specifically for that purpose.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Another School Shooting

Marybeth Hicks reflects on the recent school shooting in Ohio in an article at Faith and Family Live.  Although the media is citing bullying as the trigger, Marybeth is not so sure.  It might just be that living in a culture without moral boundaries is affecting our children.
As one student put it in the wake of Monday’s devastation, “It’s so hard to grasp. This is literally something you would see in a movie or video game.”  
Except when it’s not.  
It’s a school cafeteria on a Monday morning in Chardon, Ohio.