Small Successes

Small-Success-Thursday-550x330

 

Joining the lovely ladies at Catholicmom.com particularly the hostess, Sherry Antonetti.

1. It’s our third “snow day” (more accurately ice day) in a row and I haven’t lost my mind. Yet!

2. I dislocated my knee cap last Friday night at work. I’ve done it before but always on my right knee and this was my left knee, so it was kind of a new thing…anyway. I managed to make it back to work Saturday morning and work my entire shift on it (I am a cashier so I stand the whole shift). My manager was great about it and standing on it actually helped. So, yeah, I’d consider it a big success.

3. I convince my four-year-old to go out and play in the ice. Which was a surprisingly hard sell, especially since he could not make a snowman out of it. But he went out and had fun, so at the end of the day, that’s all that counts.

Seeking Quiet

Be Still and know that I am Lord

Psalm 46:11

My word for 2014  is “quiet” and quiet is something that is rare in my house. Someone always needs something.  Shelby needs to be changed. Joseph needs help with homework. Will just needs. And I am raising three very vocal children. Some can speak, others can’t but they are all vocal.

And that doesn’t even count the animals living in my home. The dog barks at everything and the cat is not shy either.

If I want quiet, I have to actively seek it out. And it’s not easy.

I have to get up earlier or stay up later. I have to lock myself in the bathroom at times. I have to close my eyes and just imagine it other times. And it’s broken pretty quickly. I get up a half hour earlier and I hear Shelby moving in her room. Or the doorbell rings as soon as I lock the bathroom door. So, the search continues on and on.

I don’t know that I’ve prayed specifically for the intention of quiet, at least not formally, but I know I’ve sent up a random thought or two of  the”I just want some quiet!” variety. And I guess God has been listening. Some sort of random things have happened that I’m sure were God’s way of giving me the quiet I am seeking.

It all started when I became irritated that I couldn’t have 300 windows up at one time in Chrome. And, I could not especially keep up any kind of social media and news sites up together. And suddenly, I realized, I could pray with the Perpetual Adoration site up and not be distracted by five hundred different indicators or notifications. It was a relief to know that only one thing at a time was getting my attention.

Then something very seemingly unrelated happened last week. We ran out of soda. I’m not kidding. And after going soda-less on Thursday, I went to do the grocery shopping last Friday and didn’t buy any. Instead I bought lemons and cucumbers. And have been drinking water flavored with lemon and cucumber ever since. And I’ve found my concentration is better without the extra sugar, the additional caffeine. And my brain feels less busy. Less frenetic. Quieter.

And I read last weeks Seven Quick Takes I read how Jen is using a Kindle Paperwhite to read on and how she likes how  it limits distractions (no need to Google) and how it helps her drift off to sleep because it can have the backlight turned off so it appears more like a regular book. And it clicked with me. It made total sense. If the distractions aren’t there, your brain won’t be tempted to them. And spending more time away from my computer in general can greatly help my quiet.

It continues to be a difficult and crazy quest for quiet. I have found that just going cold turkey with something causes me to obsess over it and is not healthy for me. However, when it is largely beyond my control and my brain is less wired up, it is much easier for me to ignore distractions and certainly not crave them.

Quiet. Prayerfully I seek this.

 

 

Turning and Turning, Volume 1, Episode 4

Like sands through the hour glass…

What we were up to this week at Chez H:

1. We had a five day weekend. By Wednesday everyone was glad the big kids had 2 days of school coming up. Joseph was decidedly bored and said so. Shelby was too and showed it by deciding to be as destructive as possible.

2. We had a post-Christmas/pre-Candlemas celebration this week when the gifts from my grandparents arrived. The kids got some warm pjs from my grandparents, jackets from my aunts and a book and gift certificate. They loved getting to open presents at an unexpected time.

3. I started the ardous task of ripping “the rest of my cds” [read: anything outside of Christmas music and my top 20] on this new computer into iTunes…it’s not as fun as you might think.

Things I learned this week:

1. Yes, having too many days off of school is totally  a thing.

2. 1994 was 20  years ago.

3. I can go a few days without soda. As long as I have water with cucumber and lemon.

4. Keeping up with blogs is still hard.

5. Evernote. God help me, another thing to be addicted to.

6. I am slowly loving twitter much more than facebook.

7. Quiet is much better than I ever could have imagined.

8. Catholic school children playing Ave Maria on the violin during the Offertory makes me cry.

What I’ve been reading/pondering:

1. From Dr Greg Popcak at Catholic Exchange Five Ways to Cultivate Joy.

2. Also at Catholic Exchange, Stephen Beale talks about Charity in terms of the Chaos Theory.

3. From Sacerdotus on the death of Avonte.

Faith Fridays, Volume 1, Episode 4

When I found your words, I devoured them;
they became my joy and the happiness of my heart,
Because I bore your name,
O Lord, God of hosts.

Jeremiah 15:16

Me + Bible = Happiness. In my last Turning and Turning Post, I linked to a Catholic Exchange article that talked about conversion and in it Father Ed Broom made the first point to be memory. And his suggestion was to memorize Sacred Scripture. Long gone are the days of Catholics being not encouraged to read the Bible because of possible misinterpretation. Now we are encouraged to not only pay attention to the Liturgy of the Word in Mass,  but to  read and study it on our own outside of the mass. I remember my mother devouring the Bible when I was a child, yet, my catechism hadn’t caught up just yet to encouraging children to read the Bible. I have tried, several times to read on my own and failed. I was just NOT ready for the enormity. My family didn’t read Bible study as part of our day as many Protestant famillies I knew did. Heck, we didn’t say a family Rosary either, but I never felt our prayer life was lacking. Ever. We were all fans of Perpetural Adoration, after all.

But all that changed in the last year. The call to read the Bible came on strong and from many angles. I became aware that I knew almost nothing of the writings of the so-called “minor prophets” (Obadiah? Anyone?). I know I had heard readings from Amos and Habbukuk in mass, but I just wasn’t familiar with them. Even worse, I realized I was not familiar with the Acts of the Apostles. I am supposed to be a disciple in my daily life, how do I not know more about that book? I was invited to study the Gospel of Matthew at Bible Study Fellowship, coincidentally as the Church was starting the Cycle A readings that coming Advent. Actually, there are no coincidences with God. There is just God. And He was making it known what I was supposed to do.

So, in addition to delving into the Gospel of Matthew with the lovely ladies of my BSF class, I have been reading the Bible. Cover to cover because if I skip around the ability to unintentionally skip someone altogether is all too likely.

And that brings me to the second point about why I am reading scripture, pardon the intentional pun, religiously. From BSF, from friends and from a meme on ShareCatholic, I am being reminded that Scripture is not a pick and choose thing. It’s both/and. It’s something we have to embrace fully, not the parts we find convenient to our flawed human agendas.

Scripture, serious study of Scripture, is right for my point in life right now and I have the correct tools to do it effectively. I also am finding it is the thing I needed right now to strengthen and deepen my relationship with God. To know God. Because, as I am memorizing with Ann Voskamp,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. John, 1:1

I found this quote from Father James Farfaglia in a recent post on Catholic Exchange that also encapsulates this whole idea perfectly:

What do we need to do in order to truly know Christ Jesus? Above all, we must open our minds and hearts to all of His words; we cannot remove pages from the Scriptures and reduce Christianity to our own comfort level. When we are completely open, the Holy Spirit floods our souls with His loving and peaceful presence. But God respects our freedom, so only those who open themselves can believe and see.

#WhyWeMarch

I’m not in DC marching today. I am marching from my home in my heart. We’ve been streaming EWTN live (when it will cooperate) and playing in snow (that’s sort of a joke, it did snow, but not even dusting could be used to describe it).

Today, for the first time ever, my children and I talked about the “a” word. It was the most difficult discussion I have ever had with them. We talked about how God called us to be the voice for those who have no voice. We talked about how sad it is in our country that women are allowed to murder and butcher their babies before they have a chance to defend themselves. In the words of my six-year-old:

Why would anyone kill a baby? A baby did nothing wrong. No one should be killed!

I am proud to say, he gets it. We did not get into any graphic discussion of what happens in abortion, for my children, the IDEA of murder is bad enough. They don’t care to know, nor need to know, more at this point in their lives. We had some tears about this happening and lots of prayers. Prayers for mothers, fathers and babies. Prayers for those who are able to March in the elements today. Prayers for Pope Francis and leaders of the world that they may right this most essential violation of human rights.

In the end, I am proud we have two new prolife warriors. Two little boys who know simply that murder is wrong, and a life is a life, regardless of the hows and whys and circumstances.

The two newest pro-life warriors, don't underestimate their youth Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. “Ah, Lord GOD!” I said, “I do not know how to speak. I am too young!” But the LORD answered me, Do not say, “I am too young.” To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you—oracle of the LORD. Jeremiah 1:5-8

The two newest pro-life warriors, don’t underestimate their youth
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.
“Ah, Lord GOD!” I said,
“I do not know how to speak. I am too young!”
But the LORD answered me,
Do not say, “I am too young.”
To whomever I send you, you shall go;
whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you—oracle of the LORD.
Jeremiah 1:5-8

 

William Christopher 32 weeks 5 days "You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!"  Psalm 139:13-14

William Christopher
32 weeks 5 days
“You formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works!”
Psalm 139:13-14

 

Turning and Turning Volume 1, Episode 3

What we’ve been up to at Chez H this week:

1. Asthma-geddon the sequel came with Joseph having a small cold. And he missed his first full day of school :(. I had hoped for his kindergarten year to be full-day absence free, but it was just not to be.

2. The car died. Well, when Jeff went to start it Wednesday morning, it wouldn’t. So, we’re a one car family til February 1.

3. The boys beat the entire game of Super Mario Brothers on the Wii.

4. Jeff had exams for his students at school. Which means extra stress/pressure on the teacher too. And they’re almost, but not quite done.

5. Shelby has a cold 😦 We’re not happy, but we’re managing.

What I learned this week

1. Community! It is for all of us, even me, the introvert who NEEDS her quiet individual time. I am now a moderator/admin of  a neighborhood facebook group. Hey, it’s a start!

2. For the promise of cake, my children will do anything. (And I will never abuse that privilege because making cake requires cleaning the mess up!)

3. It makes me smile up to my ears when someone says they heard a certain song on the radio and thought of me, or heard about the Super Bowl half-time show and wanted to make sure I knew about it. Or just tags me on facebook not to get me to “like a picture for a contest” but because the post reminded them of me in the best possible way.

4.I’m bad at advice when asked for it. Moral of that story: don’t ask me for advice.

What I’m reading and pondering

1. From Betty Duffy, on Pope Francis being pro-life.

2. At Catholic Exchange, Father Ed Broom talks about five ways to practice conversion.

3. Also at Catholic Exchange, Gayle Somers talks of how Scripture Speaks and this is no Ordinary Time.

4. From Elizabeth Esther on being a Rebellious Catholic and learning The Church is always right.

5. From Catholic Review, Pope Francis on Baptism.