Pausing the Blog to Write a Book…

I’ve been writing a book for my oldest daughter and children (and maybe for you too).  Unfortunately, I haven’t touched it since the summer so, I’m pausing my blogging in order to focus a bit more.  I love that this is coming along with Advent and the cozy time of the winter.  Many religious orders greatly reduce their day to day correspondence during Advent and Lent in order to have a bit of a contemplative retreat-in-daily-life.  That’s what I hope this will be for me.  Maybe you too have something brewing that you need to retreat for a while to discover and develop?  I’ll pray for you.  Please pray for me.  FYI, the book is about the habits, mindsets and resources needed to experience a continually growing life-giving connection to Christ in the midst of daily life.  Its called “A Christian’s Coffee”.  

You Will Bloom More than Once

Autumn and Natalie Merchant are similar.  I get all sentimental, sad and discontent when Natalie Merchant enticingly sings,

“Theeeese are days you’ll remember
Never before and never since
I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this”  

It makes me miss childhood, high school, college, engagement, young adulthood, the toddler years, these years.  It makes me prematurely miss today and tomorrow.  Fall feels the same way at times.  Goodbye summer.  Goodbye warmth.  It was fun while it lasted.  But now, eternal winter is around the corner and you can never return to this glory.

Well, thankfully, those are mostly lies. Continue reading “You Will Bloom More than Once”

We Are Lifeguards

About three years ago, my little kids are with a babysitter and I fidget, half naked on the bleachers, waiting for this life guarding course to begin.  The blue bathing suit just purchased on Amazon feels a little tight around my 40-year-old flab.   Quickly looking around, it is obvious that no one else here has nursed four babies.  Goosebumps already forming, I’m afraid of being cold from nine-five for a week straight.  And I’m really worried I can’t hold my breath long enough at the bottom of the diving well. Continue reading “We Are Lifeguards”

Cultivate New Growth

While many of us are planting seeds, preparing soil for saplings, feeding established plants, pruning to create new growth and fighting weeds, we can take a tip from the natural world to more clearly understand what is happening in our souls and how to care for those of our children.  Perhaps you could sit outside for 5 minutes this weekend, visually considering horticulture (urban as it is) as analogy for your interior growth.

Fat Tuesday’s Lenten Preparation

In my house, lingering over dessert together brings a good opportunity to prepare as a family for Lent which begins the next day.  We focus on the categories of prayer, fasting and alms giving.  Each person picks something individual for prayer and fasting but our alms giving is usually communal.  Then we also try to do something in the prayer category as a family around mealtime or bedtime.  Here are some ideas:

Continue reading “Fat Tuesday’s Lenten Preparation”

Kid Friendly Summer Spiritual Challenges

Start some summer spiritual fun with these challenges for yourself and your kids.

  1. Write a meal time prayer that your family can use for a season.
  2. Illustrate 10 scenes from the bible.
  3. Practice all the spiritual works of mercy.
  4. Read the Gospel of Mark cover to cover.
  5. Memorize the Beatitudes.
  6. Pray the Rosary 8 times.
  7. Invite a friend to church with you.
  8. Go through your stuff and find 20 things you can give to someone who is poorer than you.

Make a cute poster or a fancy chart.  Prizes are always fun.  Get a competition going.  What other challenges would you add?

Springtime Sports – God’s Team

Springtime brings an emergence of outdoor sports and with it – mania.  Meals on the run. Insane amounts of games on the weekend.  Lots of laundry which needs to be done quickly.  Waterbottles.  Sunblock.  Silly after game snacks that I never would buy for my kids.  But where is God in all the hubub?  Especially when the sports which dominate seem to throw ripples into the rythm of good family times, meals and even Mass.  Yet, most parents (myself included) love it.  Because Christ is truly incarnate, my faith drives me to cherish and look forward to the spring time sports mania.  We can truly find God on the field- and be thrilled that our family is in the mix of it all.

Here are a few suggestions for coming out on top at the end of the season.

  1.  Read a few bible passages that relate to sports and talk about it with your kids. Be glad that because they compete in sports, they can understand what God is saying even better.  Isaiah 40:30-31, Timothy 4:7-8, 1 Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:14, Colossians 3:21, Hebrews 12:1
  2. Take a lesson from sports on what it really means to teach someone a skill, sport and art (repetative practice, encouraging coaching, devotion, money, community, inspirational heroes).  How can you emulate that in the practice of your faith?
  3. Talk about being on God’s team.  Draw or stitch a cross on the tag of your kids’ uniforms to remind them that ultimately, it is Christ who has chosen them to play with and for Him.
  4. Help your child (or spouse) to dedicate every practice and game to doing her best for God.

Jesse Tree

A Jesse tree is a great way to learn the stories of the bible.

Make your own ornaments and hang one each day in December.  These coloring pages are a good starting place.

Jesse Tree One

Jesse Tree Coloring Sheet #2