As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Crucified by Patience

"We are called to accept the crucifixion of patience." (Catherine Doherty).

We've all done it.  We've seen that mother out in public, yelling at her kids.  Maybe they deserved it and maybe they didn't, but when we look at her we know it's not right.  We go home and cry a little bit in our hearts, and vow that when we have children of our own, we will never do that.  We'll be patient.  We will explain to our children why we want them to do ask we ask.  We will understand that it's not easy to be a kid learning boundaries, and will be empathetic to their pushing, not taking it personally.   I will never forget visiting a relative with many children one time as a university student, and leaving his home so distraught over how much he yelled at his children (never considering for once how the fact that I dropped in unexpectedly at suppertime must have amped up the pressure at one of the busiest and stressful times of day for a household of children.)  And now, as a Mom of just as many children, I am the very same.  I never wanted to be that Mom, but I am.  I yell far more often than anyone ever should, and I am not nearly as patient and rational as I wish I was.  It is my single biggest struggle as a parent.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

If Today You Hear God's Voice

It's funny how hearing something can completely take you back.  The gospel acclamation today was Psalm 95:8: "If today you hear God's voice, harden not your heart."  In an instant, I remember being at this same weekday Mass twelve years ago.  At that time I had been dating my boyfriend for three years, and like probably most young Catholic women in a dating relationship was desperate to be married.  Conversations in that time generally took on the tone of "WHEN???"  Even strangers were asking us when we would just hurry up and get married already.  We were 21 years old, and had been talking marriage pretty much since we first got together, at 18.  It seemed like it was in the cards.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Potty Training Case Study - Tips and Tidbits after Six Children

My daughter is 22 months old, and we just started potty training her a couple of weeks ago.  She was not showing any signs of readiness (understanding of the potty, keeping dry diapers, desire to use the toilet, etc.)  But I just happened to have a week with nothing planned and thought, "what the heck?"  Since this is the sixth time around for me, I've developed a pretty good case study for what works and what doesn't in our household - and age is definitely at the top of the list.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Thousand Ways to Die

"Christ calls us to be like Him.  But what did He do? In the gospel, we hear that the people wanted to make Him king, because He gave them material things - fed them bread and fishes, raised the dead, cured the sick.  But He fled, out of their way, for His kingdom is not of this world (John 6:5-15).  To the contrary, Jesus did His greatest work when He was nailed to a cross, helpless, unable to give anyone anything except love and His life.  This redeemed us." (Catherine Doherty)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Thank You For Coming

I attended Ash Wednesday Mass this year at the church where I often attend Sunday Mass. In our diocese like many other attendance is dwindling.  And yet on Ash Wednesday, the church was packed.  It almost reduced me to tears to be surrounded by so many people, many I knew and many I didn't.  It made me question why this particular Mass would be a priority to so many people, many who (presumably) do not attend regularly throughout the year.  I get it with Christmas and Easter, those Masses feel good.  They are a celebration, a tradition people keep up with their families.  We feel good when we leave, like we've done the right thing.  But on Ash Wednesday it's all about our sinfulness.  And here I was sitting in a church full of people who all came to hear that they are sinners, to remember that they are dust, and unto dust they shall return.  It was beautiful, and made me feel a connection to all of them, that there is this universal recognition that we need more than ourselves in order to overcome our desire to sin.  We need God - and these people know it.  These people, many of whom do not come to Sunday Mass but still take up lenten sacrifices, these people I walk beside in my daily life and think to be so distant from me, they really are not.  I felt one with the human family in that moment, in a way I could not explain.  These people touched me, lifted my soul, and I was so blessed by that one Mass that they chose to attend.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Two Minutes

Two minutes.  That's how long a temper tantrum that's lasting for what feels like an eternity actually takes.  It's also how long it takes to get a little perspective.  Two minutes isn't very long, but when a stubborn child is putting their feet down, and is in an "everything is making me cry because you didn't let me do what I want to do, and I just hit my toe, and I wish it was sunny today, and can I please have a snack - wait, that's what I was crying about in the first place - waaaaaaaaah!" let's just say it feels a whole lot longer. One of my children, if you haven't guessed, is in this phase.  They have been there before and seemed to come out of it.  "Great," thought I, "they're finally maturing a little bit."  Nope.  I'm going to guess this is fairly typical, which I hope will provide me some comfort but these days, it's just daunting.  I have a house full of babies already, and when my big kids start acting like babies I go from zero to sixty - quick.  Not good.