A few friends of mine link up to Graceful for the purpose of sharing what they learn at Church on Sundays or just sharing what they are l...
Do you know the legend of the Phoenix? According to legend, at the moment of death, this mythical bird becomes engulfed in a ball of fire...
E-Mom has decided that our first post of the new year here at Marriage Monday is going to be on OURSELVES . She's had the brilliant id...
Its been hectic and as manic as the Mad Hatter's Tea Party at my house (and I'm afraid that my house is showing the effects) Lots ...
Hello there friends! I am so sorry about the past three weeks of silence but there's been a lot of things going on around here. Ha...
Today Marriage Monday is tackling the delicate topic of handling difficult "in-laws". Does this subject make you want t...
This Sunday, November 20th, is Universal Children's Day as decreed by the United Nations. My 5 year old daughter will be celebrating ...
Here we are at week two of our study of the Proverbs 31 woman. Its been such a rewarding experience thus far. As I've mentioned be...
This week the GMG's study of 1 John is all about God's love and his mandate to us to love one another. St John uses some powerful ...
We are into the first week of the study of the book of Colossians. So far we have done Colossians 1:1-10. I have to say that thes...
Friday, July 29, 2011
Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of St Martha of Mary and Martha fame. She is the patron saint of chefs, cooks, homemakers, housewives, housekeepers, butlers .. domestic workers.
The bible tells us that Martha was gently chastised by our Lord for being more concerned with the hospitality side of things and reminded her that she also needed to take care of her spiritual life. Perhaps He was also reminding her that there is more to entertaining guests than the actual preparations.
What a valuable lesson for us women to learn. We get so caught up in the practicalities of cleaning our homes, providing meals and doing laundry that we need to always remember to set aside time for the Lord and time for our families.
From this interaction between our Lord and Mary and Martha, we learn that the mundane tasks are necessary, but that the most important thing is that all we do must also lead us to the Lord.This means that our chores and duties must not take us away from living out our vocations as mothers, wives, sisters, friends, community members.
I believe that St Martha must have been a very gracious hostess.. concerned with the well-being of her guests. I do wonder, however, if in seeing to their needs, she absented herself and was not sociable enough.
In my early years as a wife and mother, I was very much like St Martha. I remained in the kitchen, making sure everything was perfect and popped out occasionally, leaving my husband to do most of the entertaining.
As my girls grew older, I have been able to rely on them to fetch drinks and serve which leaves me more time to sit with guests and chat.
I guess the lesson I take from Our Lord's discussion with St Martha is that it is not necessary to have perfection in order to be a gracious hostess, it is not necessary to focus on details to convey warmth and friendship.. in fact these things are obstacles.
Of greatest importance to me is that to sit at the feet of our Lord is the best place to be.. what a blessing it is to be a homemaker and have all these hours of service that can be offered to Him!
I remember once hearing a homily by a dear old priest in which he said that our homes are our altars, everything we do is a prayer.. when done in the right spirit of service and love. In serving our families, our guests, we also serve our Lord. And that, my dear friends, is the best service of all.
May our Lord teach us to be gracious and to serve with hearts full of love.. and may we all shine brightly for Jesus!
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Lynn has asked us to share a miracle that the Lord revealed to us.. well I feel so blessed to have so many of these that I don't even know which one to share. I could tell you about the time I had an awful toothache and I asked God to take it away so that I could concentrate on the worship service I was at.. He did! It was years later that I actually went to the dentist to have that tooth fixed!
Or I could tell you about the time I got in an accident where I hit someone from behind..hard enough that my bonnet crumpled, lights smashed, children banged about, stuff under the hood damaged. Yet the lady I hit didn't feel that hard a bump (in fact she wasn't sure she'd been hit) and her car was barely dented... an angel perhaps? That's my theory.. an angel stood between us to prevent us from having to pay for damage to her car as well as our own.
I could tell you about when my husband's job was made redundant and he was given a severance pay that lasted us 8 months...just as it was about to finish, the Lord provided a job for him. As Lynn says in her post today.. the Lord always provides just enough.. never too much, never too little. All praise and thanks to Him!
Thankful to our merciful Lord for:
Walks on the beach holding hands with my soul mate and best friend
Laughter and frolicking at the water's edge.
Sand sculptures, holes and pools dug up and left.
Shells and sand dollars collected by my four year old.
Pride as I watch her take her first attempt at swimming.. minus her armfloats.
Movies watched lying on cushions, snacks all around.
Card games and board games.
Sharing the kitchen with my eldest daughter.. such a treat.
Hearing her say how much she loves my cooking.. how much she'll miss it.
The smell of cookies and cakes and goodies galore, filling up the house.
Smiles on the faces of all those indulging.
Snuggling up on a cold rainy day.
Road trips... Wiggles songs playing much to the older ones' disgust.
The joy and excitement of an energetic four year old on the playground.
Watching her try to 'play tennis'.
Worshiping our Lord in the pouring rain.
Young people who brave the elements to give praise.
The outpouring of the Spirit.. raining down blessings.
An unexpected evening out with my husband.
Giggles and squeals and toilet paper wars.
The generosity and kindness of family.
Chats that open doors once firmly closed.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
My daughter and I sat at the dining room table.. her fingers tapping away at her keyboard while I browsed the newspaper.. day old news depressing me. "Mom", she asked, "what did you do to regain your faith in people? How did you come back after being hurt and betrayed?'
She was referring to what had happened between me and the first person I had opened myself to in a relationship. I had shared my little 'wisdom' with her some time ago, wanting her to understand the pitfalls that lie for a young woman who may have been sheltered and just a little naive... yet a young woman who is on the brink of adulthood and quivering with the force of new-found independence.
I glanced up at her and replied "I guess it was faith in God, ultimately." She shot back "Yeah but how do you trust yourself to love again." "Hmm", I bit my lip, sending up a quick prayer to God to give me the right words to say. "Well, first of all, when you trust in God you can find the strength to have faith in others again, but more importantly, I didn't actively seek out that love.. it found me"
She looked sceptical and I tried to explain to this daughter who hides behind a wall of cool reserve, who doesn't let anyone close because she is so wary of being hurt. "Love isn't something you plan, its a gift from God.. a precious and fragile gift that you could actually miss out on by not following His Divine plan for you."
I went on to remind her of people we know who have stepped off God's path and done things that brought consequences to them.. consequences that have now rendered the gifts God had for them to become more difficult, if not impossible, to receive.
I told her of the hard choices I had to make as a young woman, that love came to me when I least expected it to, when I had already stepped onto a different path and that choices had to be made, choices that would be painful to me and hurtful to others. I believe I made the right choices.. I fulfilled His Plan for me. This may not have been possible if I had not prayed and sought counsel at the crucial point.
She pondered this, chewing her lip thoughtfully. "So, you're saying love is a choice then?" "Yes!", I replied, "Love is choosing to love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable, to overlook faults and flaws and extend grace to each other. Love is giving even when you don't feel like it. Waking up when you don't have to, doing something you don't need to or necessarily want to. Love is giving yourself.. all of yourself" I could see her trying to wrap her mind around the concept of sacrificial love.. she sees it played out in our marriage and parenthood, but is that enough?
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
St Anne was old and despairing of having a child, that the younger women would taunt and tease her. Stories say that she and St Joachim continuously made offerings in the temple and implored God to bless them with a child. A situation that seemed hopeless to an aging couple became reality. In the fullness of His time, God planted a precious and special child in the womb of St Anne. One destined to be held above all other women.. one given the title of Mother of the Son of God. As a result this couple is held as an example of married life and parenthood.
On this day, married couples are specially blessed and they may renew their vows of commitment to each other. In his homily at Mass today, Father stressed the importance of married couples to extend grace to each other. He said "Wives do not dwell on the faults, flaws and sins of your husband".
Now, this hits home hard for me. As a wife who used to do these things, I can attest to the fact that all it breeds is bitterness and discontent. Rather, we ought to focus on the good in our husbands. We need to remember that we are not perfect either and our flaws and faults and sins may be just as irritating to them.. maybe even more so.
It has been a long hard journey for me.. but one chock-full of rewarding lessons... lessons from our Lord in giving the gift of grace, of graciousness, forgiveness and tolerance. When I stopped focusing on what was wrong in my marriage, what was wrong with my husband and began to focus instead on how blessed I was to be married, with a home, a husband who provides, children.. the blessings seem endless, countless, limitless!
I want to encourage you to read my three part series on marriage, the links are provided. My story is wrapped up in these little fairy tales. There is a lot more I can go into... how to survive some of the most trying and painful aspects of married life.. but for now I just want to assure you that, with Christ, in Him and through Him, we can overcome anything!
Focusing on the blessings, rather than the trials; the good, rather than the bad is one of the first steps to making your marriage better. I hope that you enjoy the series below, which I wrote in preparation for assisting at Marriage Preparation classes. Its my story.. it could be your story.. but its a story that DOES have a happy ending written by the hand of Jesus Himself in the fullness of His time.
Fairy Tale Part One : Happily Ever After - Expectations
Fairy Tale Part Two: The Honeymoon is Over - Reality Check
Fairy Tale Part Three: Keeping the Dream Alive
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Its been forever since I did a thankful post. I perhaps should share a bit about what's been happening in my life.
Its been crazy, hectic and stressful for the past few weeks. There's been illness, pain and more bumps in the road than I care to admit. I have come to realise that I NEEDED to keep up with my thanksgiving so that I could focus on the good, the blessings and not just the trials that threaten to break us.
My friends, someone recently said in her blog that most of us have masks we wear when we visit Facebook, Twitter, in our blogs. Masks that give people the impression that our lives are going just as we want them to, that our children are perfect, our marriages made in Heaven and we are in control.
Well, I got to thinking about whether or not I give that impression. Truthfully, I could not witness for God if everyone thought that I 'had it all together' and its all coming up roses in my life. I recently observed that St Paul witnessed the most for Jesus from behind the walls of a prison... it was his endurance of the trials that made his testimony the strongest. So it is with us.. people need to see us broken and bleeding, rising from the dust and finding strength in Him to continue.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
This is precisely the message that Sally is bringing to us in Chapter 13. She shows us Jesus’ patience with His disciples as He trained them to understand who He was and as He helped to build up their faith and ministry. As she points out, the fruit of all His work didn’t come to fruition until after His death and resurrection.
Let me stress here that this "First Response" reflex did not happen overnight and there are still times when I struggle not to let fear control me. It takes great effort to come to the point where I recognize that I have no control.. only God does. That makes it a little easier to release my fears and trust in Him.
Therefore we do not need to submit to fear, but submit our fears to Him.
This is a valuable lesson my husband and I are struggling to teach our children, to let them see us live out in our daily life together.
It is a solid foundation for all of us. As Sally points out, we cannot protect or shield our children, or ourselves for that matter, from the evil in this world, from danger or from trials. We CAN, however, train them how to deal with these things.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Linking up with
Friday, July 1, 2011
I think I want to talk about what blogging has come to mean to me. I started blogging in January.. so I'm pretty new here. I wanted to start commenting and participating in the blog that started all of this.. Courtney's Women Living Well. One day my husband just told me.. go for it.. why don't you start your own blog.
I thought about it for a couple of days and then one day I just signed up. I'm SOO techno-challenged, but I have learned so much over the past five plus months. My children are all agog at what Mom's been able to do. I'm still learning m y way around, but I think I've come a long way!
I've always loved writing.. since I was a child I've written poetry and short stories and I once even won a writing contest when I was 20. I sort of put all that behind me when I got married and started having children. Its been so wonderful to have this outlet for my desire to write.
More importantly, I started blogging because I wanted to share the spiritual journey I've been on.. this blog was born from a place of pain and searching for answers. I found Courtney and realised that there were other people out there who lived the lifestyle I have chosen for the past 18 years.
I know that might sound strange but it is not that normal where I live for women to live a 'biblical' life. Maybe there are people out there... I've just never come across any. In both my family and my husband's mothers worked and there was no encouragement to be a stay at home mom. Its the norm over here for both parents to work. Mothers who don't usually have housekeepers, some even live in.
Anyway, I'm almost out of time.. so this is it. I love being part of this blogging world and I am so happy to have all you new friends and to meet new people and to share and learn as we journey
Whew!.. almost didn't make it to the end there.. well this was my first attempt so forgive me if I stick in my last word 'together'.
It was fun, maybe I'll do it again some time. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and enjoy your Independence Day celebrations!