Saturday, April 14, 2012

Soaking up this Saturday

Just sitting here, this quiet and cloudy Saturday morning, reflecting on God's good love. The children are watching cartoons, I'm drinking a strong cup of coffee and my smiling sweet baby is sitting on the floor, contently playing in his book basket. He looks up and scans the faces of his family sitting around him and just smiles huge as he sees us all here with him. All that this little boy knows about the world and love is through us. This is how God wants us to know Him. All beauty, joy and love through Him and from Him. I haven't posted in weeks and my gratitude list is bulging this morning.

Thank you, Good Lord, for your perfect love...

Gifts # 530-552

A shopping day with my mom, how Goodwill and a cup of coffee make a perfect day when done with her.

Finally making our family gratitude journal & the kids being excited to fill it with 1000 blessings.

Ryan's school play, he remembered his lines, his song was funny & sweet, and he was so proud of himself.

Mandy, Marilyn, yummy scones and an insightful discussion of one thousand gifts.

Our little spring break getaway.

The joy and excitement on their faces while swimming, playing, splashing, sliding and floating.

That we could all laugh about our 2 hour dinner experience, that the kids were more patient than me.

The "good tired" that you feel after a long day of fun.

New shoes.

Relaxing mornings and no school rush.

Good Friday, His Passion, veneration of the cross, our 3 pm quiet hour of  family prayer.

Our Divine Mercy Chaplet & Novena and St. Faustina

Pressed Easter clothes.

Easter morning, He is Risen, singing Alleluia, the rising sun through stained glass at 630 am Easter morning Mass. Our brilliant and beautiful altar dressed in Easter lilies.

Baby's first Easter here with us at home, rather than in the NICU where he spent his very first Easter Sunday.

Our Easter egg hunt on the lush green lawn with the sun shining.

Dinner with family, celebrating my mom's birthday and dad's Easter bread.

Reassurance and encouragement when doubt rears it's ugly head.

Lunch with an inspiring group of Christian ladies.

Still learning to trust and persevere through prayer when self doubt and discouragement wage war within.

A whole day with my dear friend, who I never see enough, and who always makes me laugh.

This peaceful Saturday morning of relaxing with my family, enjoying time, reflecting on God's always perfect love and finally feeling inspired to write my gifts & blessings.

(March Joy Dare- Gifts #553-646)

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Just Man

 Honoring the Solemnity of St. Joseph, our family's patron saint.
“He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph’s wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: ‘Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord’” (St. Bernardine of Siena).

St. Joseph was an ordinary manual laborer although descended from the royal house of David. In the designs of Providence he was destined to become the spouse of the Mother of God. His high privilege is expressed in a single phrase, "Foster-father of Jesus." About him Sacred Scripture has little more to say than that he was a just man-an expression which indicates how faithfully he fulfilled his high trust of protecting and guarding God's greatest treasures upon earth, Jesus and Mary.
- from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

We will be making "St. Joseph-pray for us" lilies today, thank you Lacy at Catholic Icing for this cute idea.

Thank you, heavenly Father for the unending grace you give...

The gift of St. Joseph, for his faithful trust, love and protection.

My husband's faith, trust, love and protection. I love this tireless, gives everything man, who loves, provides and protects us.

God & family filled weekend, just being together and connecting.

Organizing and spring cleaning, productive for the home, but even more fruitful in that it clears & settles my mind.

Settling into a good morning workout routine. Habits that are changing and feeling motivated to keep it going.

Coffee with my dear, sweet, trustworthy friend. Her honesty. Knowing I'm not alone with my thoughts. The big hug she gave me, the really tight, not letting go kind.

Finally feeling some peace about homeschooling after weeks of intensive prayer, research and reading.

That my daughter is coping better and gaining some confidence. We are talking, reading and praying and she is feeling just how much God loves her and trusting his plan.

My beautiful aunt & her prayers.

The grace of Lent

(gifts #422-431)
(gifts #432-518 Feb Joy dare)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Now That's Trust!

Feeling so incredibly grateful today for…well, everything. I just finished reading Kisses from Katie. Such a heartrending, amazing story of an affluent 18 year old girl who left her perfect suburban life for missionary work in Uganda. Katie finds abundant joy and love among the filth, disease and poverty of an African village. The world’s poorest of poor, and untouchable in the eyes of many, but Katie sees Jesus in their faces and God’s purpose for their lives. What amazing faith and trust in the Lord.

I will never look at the basic necessities of life the same…and I don’t want to. I take so much for granted in my abundant, very comfortable life. This book has given me so much to think about, pray about…

So grateful to God for what we consider the very basics of life…
A home that is sturdy, clean and comfortable.
Water… hot water, clean water
Healthy food
Healthy children
Medicine, doctors and hospitals, especially the ones who saved my dear son’s life
School and teachers
Books, paper, pencils and crayons
Beds & clean sheets
Stove & oven
Washer & dryer
Paved roads & reliable car
And for…
My daughter who is making faithful, healthy choices
Beautiful spring weather
Spending time outdoors in the sun
Walks with my baby
New books for me and Alex today
Katie and all the missionaries who serve God’s people and make our fallen world a better place… just one person at a time.

(Gifts #400-421)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Glimpses of Spring

Crocus, daffodil and hyacinth greens peeking through the earth.

Children jumping, climbing and delighting in short sleeves.

A window flung open, new air blowing out the stale and stiff.

Joyfully welcoming this warm, windy March day. The first warm days of the season make me giddy with anticipation of spring. I look forward to that first day of work in garden, hands in soil, cultivating new life. Waiting for the greens to bud and flower. These longer, warmer days of spring, invite us outdoors to soak up His glory.

My lover speaks and says to me,
 “Arise, my friend, my beautiful one,
and come!
For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, and come!
-Song of Songs 2:10-13

Welcoming some new life in the soul today too. The Lenten journey continues, anticipating New Life in the Resurrection. This warm spring day during Lent feels like hope for the journey.

Winter has least for today.

Grateful today for this glimpse of spring...

And for...

Manicure day with the girls

How Anna talks with no teeth

No teeth, but such cute nails
And for...

~Watching them run, jump, and play, enjoying God's good earth.

~Wind and warmth.

~Gardens that need weeding and clearing, symbolic of Lent.

~Open windows and fresh air.

~Gospel of Matthew chapter 24 & 25, how studying His word always gives fresh insight and peace.

(Gifts #390-400)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Struggling to Listen

My rocking chair sits beside the fireplace. It’s an inviting place for prayer, at the foot of the Crucifix that hangs over the mantle. I've spent hours in prayer here as I nurse and rock my littlest one. I’ve praised Him. Thanked Him. I’ve asked of Him.

Today, I sit trying to listen. I’m struggling.
Listening…it’s the most neglected part of my prayer life. Why is it so hard for me to be silent and just listen to Him?

I’ve been wrestling, for some time now with the idea of homeschooling my children next fall. I keep praying for the heart to know God’s will. How can I discern when my heart will not open and simply listen?
I thought I knew what God wanted from me this Lent. Perhaps those were my plans. Maybe God is leading me in a different direction. It’s time to dig a little deeper in prayer.  My own attempts are weak and fruitless. I know I cannot will anything to be done. It’s all His powerful hand shaping my life.  I need to remember and trust that His plan also means in His time.
Grateful to a loving God for...
(gifts #383-389)
His plan, His time... and praying for the grace to quietly listen & patiently wait.
Hard eucharisteo... a friend who is dying. Grateful that she is surrounded with love and comforted by faith. Thankful for the time that I had with her & for the things that she taught me.

The friendship of Christian women who love and support.

Family rosary & all their thoughtful intentions.

Stress-free homework time last night.

Anna's second front tooth falling out, I love that toothless grin.

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Life

"We must collect our powers, desires, and affections, which have been scattered 
and are lingering in the valley of the purely human; putting them all together,
we must make them converge on God, our one last end."
~ Father Gabriel, Divine Intimacy
I'm feeling new life this Monday morning. Monday mornings have a new face these days. This first Monday of Lent is especially fresh after a peaceful weekend of prayer and family time with the Lord.
I am gratefully welcoming this first full week of Lent. We are unplugging a little more, slowing down and clearing some clutter.

Lord, I'm grateful for the many blessings of this Lent season. Thank you for the grace to move away from world and closer to you.

Lenten Grace...

(Gifts #371- 382)

All the Grace found at the Foot of the Cross.

children's crowns of thorns

Lacy @ & all her wonderful project ideas.

My new chocolate colored chalkboard wall for prayer intentions & memory verses.

Our prayer table draped in purple

Anna's cross

His Mercy

snow turning to ice on the ugly-beautiful tree

beautiful, heavy snow

Snow on pine trees that line our backyard

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


During the weeks leading up to Lent, I kept hearing Empty...Simplify. This is where I feel called to lead our children this Lent. Simplify in order to empty. Empty in order to fill with Christ. Our family talked about our Lent goals and we will finish filling in our Lent calendar tonight. Our poster sized calendar has always been an easy way to keep focused. We hang it in the kitchen, where we can all easily see it throughout the day.
My personal Lenten sacrifices in past years have sometimes been too lofty. I remember moments of failing before the first Sunday of Lent. So, this year it will be simpler. We will foucs on more family time with the Lord. My sacrifices in years past were always filled with strict fasting. I can admit my secret goal was more centered on weight loss rather than growing closer to Christ. This year I am looking forward to the simplicity of family time, peaceful prayer, quiet listening.

Simplify... empty...fill with Christ.

We will be reading Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa together as a family. We are also going to try to read the entire Gospel of Mark. Inspired by Ann Voskamp at Holy Experience we will have the children memorize The Beatitudes and keep a journal on living the Beatitudes. After family reading time we will do one decade of the Rosary during the week and a full Rosary Friday through Sunday. Our Lent calendar will include a special intention for the day.

Aside from the required abstaining and fasting, we all have some personal things we will be giving up. The younger kids will do something different everyday. Our Lent guide Bringing Home Lent with Mother Teresa is filled with non-food ideas for fasting. We will also be giving up Friday night family movie night in favor of Stations of the Cross and our parish fish fry.

During Advent we went shopping together as a family to buy food for the local Soup Kitchen. The kids were really moved by the experience of delivering the food the week of Christmas. When we talked about almsgiving for Lent this year, they decided they wanted to do this again.

Lord, thank you for this beautiful season, an opportunity to be closer to You.  I thank you for this precious time to grow in our love for You. I'm grateful today for...

(gifts #360-370)

Our Faith, a gift to be nurtured, cherished and shared.

His never ending Love.

Seeing ashes on all of their foreheads today, even the tiniest forehead.

The Crowns of Thorns we made today.

Our Lent calendar & how excited we all are to begin our Lent journey with Him.

The Holy Spirit for filling my heart with passion this Lent.

All the prayer intentions that the children wrote.

Anna losing her front tooth, her grin couldn't be any cuter.

Big, juicy, pink grapefruits.

Homemade granola.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Amazing...Saving Grace

I’m feeling so abundantly loved.  His miraculous care overwhelms me. The gifts & graces just keep pouring into my life. Lord, thank you for loving me even when I'm filled with doubt.  Thank you for forgiving me…again.
(Gifts #343- 359)
Safe travel for hubby.
My prayers answered & miracles received.
My generous, self-less mom, who gives everything for her family.
New insight into children.
Progress in discerning home schooling decision for next year.
Divine Intimacy and Father Gabriel- another life changing book.
Book club meeting, time with friends & good conversation.
God's comfort during times of doubt & anxiety. He's always there!
Making it through the last two weeks only by His grace, love & protection.
The garage door being fixed.
Matchbox cars & plastic army guys... that he still loves them...the hope & prayer that he will always choose these over video games.
Anna's mismatched outfits. How she thinks any pattern matches as long as they both have pink on them. Not caring anymore & seeing the beauty of it through her eyes. I am so grateful that I was able to let go of this.
Hot turkey chili in a big, fat soup mug.
St. Valentines puppets, red velvet cake and chocolate.
Successful surgery for a relative.
Time with Alex at the Modesty fashion show/ Teresa Tomeo witness.

Moments of Grace, linking with the ladies at...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

LOVE  is...

mother son dance
daddy daughter dance
so precious

(gifts #229-249)
(gifts #250-342-January Joy Dare)