Mary in a Martha World: Busyness – the 21st century mom’s golden calf

I actually wrote this yesterday, October 7th, and then read the gospel reading for yesterday – Luke 10:38-42:
     Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.  But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;  one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”

To moms today, even stay-at-home-moms, we seem to strive for busyness.  It almost becomes a competition – “I have only been home 30 minutes all day, had time for one potty break, and ate one Oreo for lunch.”  And the rebuttal – “Oh yeah?  Well I only slept one hour last night, been on the run since 4:15am, and won’t even be able to check the 1,017 text messages I got today until 10:26pm when my last kid finishes his homework and I can finally brush my hair!”  I admit it, I’ve said something similar to both of those!

Does living in chaos make us better moms?  On the contrary, we set the tone for our homes!  Wondering why your 10 year old can’t focus on what you’re telling her for more than 30 seconds?  You’re fostering a sense of chaos in your home.  Just like having piles of papers (even if they ARE artwork that Johnnie made in school) seems to breed more clutter, so, too, does our chicken-with-it’s-head-cut-off schedule breed the opposite of the peaceful, calm, warm, and welcoming home we want for our husbands and children.

Somehow busyness makes us feel more important, too; seemingly equal to how worthy we are.  I know that I feel a constant need to prove, by showing how busy I am, that there is a need for a homemaker and that it’s a valuable position to have.  But that’s just appearances.  Wouldn’t our role as keepers of the home be more valuable if we were able to provide a reprieve for our families?  When they come home from the demands of work and school, the constant requests for them to do more, more, more, more, isn’t that what they deserve to retreat to?

The evil one loves to try to keep us busy with good things, too!  After all, if you are so busy running off music for the choir, finding a craft for your religious ed class, serving on several committees as well as the council at your children’s schools, how much time are you going to have to spend with God in prayer, in scripture, in Adoration? (hear me out here, not saying we shouldn’t be involved, but we need to learn to say no)

Just like Martha in today’s gospel reading, Jesus is telling us to stop with the busy work and sit down with Him, rest in His presence, lean up against Him and feel His heartbeat.  I’m making a move today to simplify my schedule, to do whatever it takes every.single.day to spend time with Him, my first and purest Love.  How about you?

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20 Things That Make Me Happy!!!

Yesterday I was tagged by my girl Cristina @ Filling My Prayer Closet to share 20 things that make me HAPPY! 🙂  In true Monday fashion, yesterday didn’t go as planned, so it’s happening today!  In no particular order:

1) My babies’ laughter.  Y’all know, there’s just nothing like it.  Check out this video my girls made not long ago, one singing/videoing, the other lip syncing, and tell me you don’t laugh!

 

2) Kansas sunsets.  Seriously guys, nothing beats them.  After the chaos that ensued yesterday I noticed that a beauty was brewing, so I hopped in the van – by myself – drove a few miles out into the country and just marveled in the beauty that He lays before us.

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3) A clean kitchen.  Not that I allow myself that luxury much, but gosh it makes my heart sing when the dishes are done, the sink is shining, the counters are cleared and clean, the floor is as clean as a floor can with 3 kids, 2 dogs, and a husband………..it actually makes me want to be in there and cook!  Hmmmmm, maybe I should do that more often 😉

4) Our small group.  We have a group of mature charistmatic Catholics that we fellowship with each week and I am so thankful for them!  We just finished up a 16 week study on the Holy Spirit, led by a lay missionary.  Even our kiddos look forward to gathering (and they’re the only kids! lol).

5) This little town of Goodland.  Sometimes small towns can be annoying – extremely limited shopping, everyone knows your business, etc – but raising our kids in the same town we were raised in makes me happy.  We’ve gotten calls in the morning of “did you know your son was walking to school without his backpack?” and “your dogs wandered to our house, the kids are playing with them until you get here” and “just wanted to let you know that your dome light was still on”.  It’s like one big family!  I don’t worry when my (then) 6 year old has taken a detour on her way to the bathroom at the county fair – not only does most of the town know her, who she belongs to, and where she should/shouldn’t be, but I can go up to the sheriff (who’s in the above mentioned small group), tell him I can’t find her, and he’ll put it out on their radio and they all know who they’re looking for too.  I love that some of my kids’ teachers were our teachers too!  Not sure our son loves that (I was an honor student, he could care less what his grades are) but hey, it’s all good 😉

6)Morning drink stop and happy hour at Sonic!  We just got a new Sonic in our little town in May, and it’s awesome!  My favorite – watermelon with nerds slush!!!  Kid at heart?

7)Going thrifting.  Nothing like a trip to Denver where I can choose from lots of Goodwill stores and my newer favorite, Unique Thrift Store!  It’s almost like a game to see what awesome outfits you can put together for a few bucks.  Even more thrilling when I can get the kids set with school clothes – many still with tags on them from Unique – for under $100 each (except shoes, my kids have big feet – not many used size 13s for men and 11.5 for women that’s acceptable for preteen and teen).

8)Not a surprise after #7, I really really really like old doors (you know the 5 paneled type), old windows, and well, mostly anything old enough.  Old homes with original hardwood floors, wood trim.  Old tin ceilings.  Anything chippy, with years of character and my heart beats a little faster.

9)New babies.  Some friends of ours just had a new baby girl a couple weeks ago.  I had to keep myself from walking to the hospital all the time (I can see the hospital from my back door – 1/2 block away).  Pretty sure mom wondered if I was going to give her back 😉  Their smell, their fusses, the noises and squeaks they make when they sleep.  *sigh*   Also makes me heart ache a tad, but that’s another story for another day.

10)July 4th.  And not just because it’s coming up this week.  We live just a few blocks from where they shoot the big show from, so we gather friends and family and set up lawn chairs in our front yard to watch.  We usually have some yummy goodies too – homemade ice cream, coconut cream pie, and chocolate cream pie to name a few 😉  It’s nice to watch the show, listen to the kids ooh and aah, visit with my parents, and enjoy the freedom that we’re celebrating!

11)Sharing my conversion story.  Especially my cradle friends love to hear about how the Holy Spirit guided me into the truths.  And how some of the things I’ve believed all along were stepping stones to completely line up with the Church.

12)And others’ conversion stories too!  Watching the Journey Home gets me all sorts of excited again!!

13)Getting random text pics from my sister-in-law of my nephews 🙂
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14)New opportunities.  Some friends of ours that moved a couple years ago have asked me to be their “property manager” for the house they still own here.  Always fun to learn something new (and contribute tangibly to the budget)!

15)Silence.  I’m talking like no fans running, no dishwasher going, nothing.  A VERY rare occurrence here, but it makes me happy when it does happen!

16)The smell of clothes dried on the line.  Not sure if it really does smell that awesome or if it’s just because it reminds me of the cardboard-like towels we had to dry off with when we spent summers at my grandparents.  Either way!

17)Football!!!  Ok, not so much NFL, but I LOVE watching our son play football!  Yes, I’m THAT mom – the one that paces, the one that can’t sit down, the one that cheers so much she nearly looses her voice.  Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader!

18)When said son’s neurologist says let’s wean off of another med!  Peyton had a 4 month, still unexplained, 8-9 out of 10 on the pain scale, divinely healed “headache” that cut his football season short last year and consumed our holidays.  I’ll write on that another time, but it makes me super happy to see his med list dwindle!

19)All of my cyber sisters.  It always amazes me the relationships that can be developed and nurtured through the internet!  Love you all!!!

20)When God sends me to minister to someone.  We spent a lot of time at Children’s Hospital through Peyton’s ordeal.  We got to visit, love on, and minister to people that were in a lot worse situations that us.  Getting to spread His love is something I never tire of 🙂

So there ya have it folks!  My list of 20 things that makes me happy!

I’m passing the torch and tagging Jaime @ The Fruitful Mama!

Reflection on a reflection on a reflection………….

My girl Cristina @ Filling My Prayer Closet posted a TBT blog-style, reflecting on a reflection………..and asked her readers to reflect too!  That’s a lot of reflection!  I decided (especially since I’ve been a horrible blogger and not blogged about all of the awesomeness going on) that I would share my reflections with you, and in turn as you to share back (reflect lol) in the comments, too!

Are you comfortable talking with others about your relationship with God?
+ This is an interesting question for me to reflect upon at this point, since my relationship has drastically changed with Him over the last year. I don’t think I’ve ever been uncomfortable sharing, but I do think that coming home (and all of the journey that has lead up to that) has made me more bold in sharing. That while I need to be sensitive to where someone is at, and how much I should give them (thank you Holy Spirit!) that I can and will endure any persecution that may come back at me.

 

Would you say that you’re a “normal” Catholic using the criteria outlined below? Or are you a “typical” Catholic, fighting that feeling that interest in the faith is only for a few pious eccentrics?

-It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be excited Christian activists.
-It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be knowledgeable of their faith, the Scriptures, the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Church, and the history of the Church.
-It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to have fellowship of other committed lay Catholics available to them, to encourage, nurture, and discern as they attempt to follow Jesus.
-It is NORMAL for the local parish to function consciously as a house for formation for lay Catholics.

+ Normal! Although while I agree that those things should BE normal, I definitely recognize they aren’t normal. What can we do to change that? I had to chuckle at your mention of “if you’re at a weekday Mass it’s because you WANT to be there” – YES!!! Even if it’s just you and the priest! 😉

 

Do you personally have, within your parish, a group of Catholics you meet with regularly, to discuss the faith, study the faith, and encourage each other to greater virtue?
+ I don’t know if I can say that this is within our parish, although it’s sprung from the parish and is ultimately a result of a parish mission last fall 🙂 But I’m so grateful to have a group of Catholics that I meet with (almost) weekly. We fellowship over a meal, enjoy praise and worship time, share what God has spoken to us through the week through scripture/lectio divina/prayer (amazing how others can help give insight as to what He’s saying if we’re open enough to share!), and minister to each other through the laying on of hands and prayer, and using our gifts given from the Holy Spirit! Can’t imagine my life without having a group like this 🙂

 

At this time, does your parish have in place a working system for actively mentoring those who want to grow in their relationship with God?
+ nope. Very unfortunate. ^^^ we’re working on that! ^^^ I think the work mentoring is key here too – it’s not just about having a lesson, but a relationship! Building each other up! Guiding each other!
Whaddya think?  How would you answer these questions?  How is God calling you to step out, be bold, and foster a need in your parish?   

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2:42

Brylie is baptized!

One of the things I get to experience having come into the Church with my kids at an older age is their decisions and participation in the Sacraments.

Baptism has always been very important to me – even from the time I was baptized at age 8, I felt that baptism was an essential part in a person’s walk with the Lord and accepting His gift of salvation.  I don’t recall if this was taught to me or if it’s a belief that I formed on my own, but it’s in line with the Church’s teaching on the importance of baptism 🙂

Brylie (7) has been asking for almost a year to be baptized.  When I decided to come into the Church I knew why I had hesitated before – now she could be baptized and in doing so become part of the Catholic Church! During the last of my formation/education I had asked Father Norbert, and we set the date.  Brylie was THRILLED!!!  Father knew some of her knowledge of Christianity because we had met with him as a family, and just wanted to meet with her once to make sure this was her decision (at about this age the Church considers them to be the age of reason – they know right from wrong and can choose for themselves).

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Yesterday was the big day – we had talked and talked about what it meant, the awesome gift that Jesus had given us on His Cross, and she was READY to be cleansed, become a child of God, a daughter of the King, a new creation in Christ, and receive the Holy Spirit!  Her baptism was to take place after Mass, and as Father was making a couple of brief announcements she knew Mass was all but over and could not sit still, lol!

 

She listened to everything Father said with such intensity.  It was absolutely precious!!!  10308267_572079106239420_8195425157472823316_n

She answered all of his questions perfectly (she was worried that she’d mess up) and was full of joy (Holy Spirit!!!) as she was baptized

In the name of the Father.

And of the Son.

And of the Holy Spirit!

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After her godfather lit her baptismal candle from the Paschal candle, she received a blessing (as did the rest of her family and her godparents).

10152389_572079199572744_8186176104247482169_nIt was such a joyful day for all of us!  She was still floating this morning – Mom!  Yesterday was a REALLY BIG DAY FOR ME!!!

It’s so renewing to see child so seeking God, no holding back, that reminds us to come to Him as children – without hesitation and full of joy, anticipation, hope, excitement, and love!

 

We interrupt this program……..

Yup, I’m behind.  I could catch up, but I’m choosing instead to be infused with the events and emotions surrounding Holy Week.  I’ll only come into the Church once, I want to savor every moment!  It’s already been an emotional and reflective week, and we’re just beginning the Triduum today!  I promise to catch up AND reflect on the week later!

I choose you – you are Mine!

The class of 2014 in our parish celebrated the Rite of Sending and the Rite of Election  just over a week ago.  I should have carried tissues.  The hymn at both events was “You Are Mine”.  Here are a few lines from it:
I will come to you in the silence
I will lift you from all your fear
You will hear My voice
I claim you as My choice
Be still, and know I am near

Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine

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“Do you think you are here because of any choice you made?  Because you chose the Church?  NO!  You are here because Christ chose YOU!”

That’s what our Bishop said in his homily at the Rite of Election.  He could’ve not said another word and I would have been left in awe.

Christ chose me.

It still leaves me speechless, and humbled, and with more thanksgiving than I could ever express!

I recently went through some inner healing, to allow Christ to heal and rebuke lies that I’ve believed about myself since I was a wee one.  It has blocked me from receiving His love all this time and I had no idea.

God doesn’t want us to go through life not knowing how much He loves us!

Our Father sent His ONLY Son, who was without ANY sin, never did wrong, to suffer for us – to receive ridicule, condemnation, persecution, lash after lash from whips, chains, blades, thorns pressed into His head, nails penetrating each of His hands, and His feet, and a spear piercing His side – unimaginable pain.  For us.  FOR ME.  Even then, He chose to suffer for me.  While He bore the weight of my sin on His back, His blood poured out FOR ME.  For the first time in my life I can accept that love – yes, with humility, but it was for me.

During these 3 Sundays in which we, as elect, celebrate the scrutinies, I invite each of you to embrace what they mean.  This isn’t a time for you to scrutinize and judge yourself or others, but a time to open up and let God scrutinize you.  Let Him seek those dark corners of your heart.  Let Him shine His glorious light on them and heal them so that you can receive His love, so that you can melt as it pours into and over your heart.

He chose YOU!  He loves YOU!  You are HIS!

    I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 

Life isn’t a grade school lunch tray……

You know, the peach/yellow/tan ones that have 5 sections for food and one for your silverware/straw.

The ones that keep everything nice and neatly separated, so that *gasp* no food touches one from another food group.

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Did I ever mention that I’m a perfectionist? 😉  Didn’t think so……….

I think sometimes we tend to categorize our lives like these trays………..

But what happens if one of them runs into the other……….oh wait – you mean they do?  You still think about your family while you’re at work?  Your circle of friends includes people from church?  But isn’t it interesting how we’re hesitant to bring Jesus into them ALL.  We see evidence of the damage this does every day!

When I eat chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, I always order “gravy over all”.  Jesus is our gravy – He makes everything  better!  Pour Him out over all areas of your life!