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)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Soul Lift

The old ways keep trying to creep back in. I had not opened my gratitude journal for 5 days. I woke up today in need of a soul lift. God never fails. God put Ann Voskamp in my life for a reason. Some inspiring, beautiful words from Ann today at Holy Experience.

"You can’t get time back. Is that why the saints wrestle with God — until they see even hard times as holy times?"

"And I’d take the ugly with the beautiful because the hard stuff is the heat that refines."

"But to wake to the moments and embrace the moments, all of them, the exhaustingly hard and the wildly good and the ugly beautiful, because God only comes to us through the moments. And He isn’t only in some moments, abandoning us in others."

"Be present – because the present is just that – a present. A gift. No one has to carpe diem, seize the day, of everyday chronos time — we can all grind our teeth through as many of the difficult moments we want – and miss who knows how much of our life? "

"Maybe the ones you aren’t seizing are the ones that might change you?"

"Maybe it’s about this: God uses the day to seize us. God carpe diems.

"God seizes the days: God seizes time and uses it as an instrument to transform. God seizes every moment to sculpt souls and shape lives and transform ashes into glory. What if isn’t so much about seizing kairos moments and surviving chronos moments — but seeing all as Christ-filled moments? That God seizes the moment to make me more like Christ and what if I seized more of the moments, because there is something of my Savior in them?"

"I may not enjoy every moment but every moment I can joy in God."

 ~Ann Voskamp

This...this is the lift I needed today. By His Grace, I'm starting to soak up the moments, all moments.

My gratitude journal today, is a list of things that I'm seeing in a new light, His Light.

To borrow words from Ann, this is my ugly beautiful. Things that used to bring me worry, fear, and frustration. All moments from God that I can embrace with a changing heart.

Gifts #221-228

Mondays. An opportunity to organize, slow down & re-focus.

Over-tired, cranky baby just not wanting to sleep. Moments to sit, rock, and just love him.

The clutter.

The laundry.

Dirty dishes sitting all day.

Being tired most of the time. Moments to rely on Jesus.

Homework time. Moments to look closely into my children. Moments to practice patience. Moments to meet the needs of my children. Moment to discern God's plan for next year.

The routine. The mundane. Moments to find God in everything. Just looking for Him fills me with Grace. Moments for prayer.               

Moments of Grace @ Suscipio

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I'm grateful for the little hands and the growing hands (almost as big as mine). All these busy hands...drawing, cutting, painting and baking. There is always at least one project underway in our home. I love watching them create. And I'm learning to be okay with the mess too. All these creations are little windows to their hearts. I learn a little more about each of them with each project. Each little masterpiece is a tiny glimpse into their soul, all for the Glory of God.