Give from God’s Strength

I’ve found myself feeling pulled in a million directions and failing people at every turn.  People who have a legitimate right to my love and attention- friends, parents, children, spouse, neighbors, school administrators… are often cut short and do not get what they deserve from me.  This is true also of the orphan, the widow, the poor, the sick, the friendless – people who I read about, who I pass on the street, who I know are out there.  Like everyone else in this world, I need to learn that I am limited.  Yet, my own smallness enables me to humbly tap into God’s eternal love. Continue reading “Give from God’s Strength”

Pray as you go

Super relaxing.  Gentle encouragement.  Christ focused.  I’ve been enjoying this app called “Pray As You Go” as I commute to work or on a quick jaunt to the grocery store.  Its a 15 minute meditation on some bible readings.  The readers (British Jesuits) usually have cool accents and they feature music from all over the map.  What is your favorite “car meditation” app?  Let’s not get too comfy now, right?!

High Five the Runner

This morning on the last block of my run, I saw an old Japanese man shuffling toward me on his own exercise endeavor. Ask just about anyone in this neighborhood and they will know who I’m talking about since he evokes quite a bit of admiration and perhaps even worry.  This beautiful man has unmistakably hobbled through these streets for years.  I’ve never seen him anywhere else- only pounding the pavement- one noisy foot in front of the other.  His body is inclined in a mix between an Olympian track star who is using gravity to propel him faster and an arthritic patient who has just gotten up from a soft chair. Mouth gaping open, the gnats flee from his presence as he laboriously sucks in gallons of air.  I wish he were my grandpa.  Continue reading “High Five the Runner”

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”

Sunday Scripture for Kids

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – cycle B

Happy Sunday!  Here is a quick thing you can do to help your family internalize the Word of God this week:

Before Mass (perhaps in the car on the way to church):

This week’s readings are like a big loud announcement to anyone who is poor or tired or feeling bad.  Listen for this verse at Mass: Continue reading “Sunday Scripture for Kids”

You Are Not Strong Enough

“You who so praiseworthily wish to lead an apostolic life, each according to her individual situation, know well enough the world of today to realize that in your battle against unbelief and immorality, natural resources and all purely human means are radically insufficient. What you absolutely need is an intimate union with Christ, and that intimate union absolutely presupposes prayer and sacrifice.”

Papal Directives For The Woman Of Today, Pope Pius XII – 1947

In this quote I stumbled upon, I realize the enormity of the endeavor that we are taking on when we try to witness to Christ (whether it be by raising good children, teaching high school, keeping peace among relatives, stay ethical).  I am not enough.  What this pope, speaking right after WWII, says is the answer is actually what we all probably long for the most…

The Nudge of God – do I listen?

Let’s presume that, my husband and I are in a “conversation” trying to figure out the softball, soccer, dance drop off, pick up, carpool schedule when I hear a little voice in my head saying, “smile at him.”  I really don’t feel like it so I cock my head to the side and raise my eyebrow up a little further.  Or imagine that my kids are fighting downstairs and something urges me to go sit with them and figure it out but I’m busy with an e-mail so I ignore it.  I have not cracked open the bible yet today and my heart pounds a bit when I see my book next to an empty chair but I eat a handful of chocolate covered almonds and scribble out my grocery list while doing 5 other things at the same time.  How long will I continue to hear that voice and ignore it? Continue reading “The Nudge of God – do I listen?”

Serving our Children in the Midst of Awful Things in Our Culture

You and I both know that there are awful things in our culture.  Things that wound us, disturb us, threaten us.  Sexual abuse by the clergy, for one terrible example.  If you have a little one or one who isn’t so little any more, then I know you desperately want to navigate life with them.  But I find it difficult, often, to really listen to my kids when many of the troubles of our culture are swimming around my brain.  Sometimes, at the right moment, I am able to share my thoughts and gently show them some of the sadness in our world, or in our Church.  But mostly, I need to listen their worlds.  Celebrate the ups, work through the downs.  In these times when many of us Catholics are reeling from devastating discoveries, I am trying to focus a bit more on my children – literally – through eye contact and prayer.  Filling myself with a few brief moments of contemplation morning, midday and evening so that I that can continue to walk with them on the path, teaching them to find grace.

What about you?  In what way do the troubles in the church or in our world affect the way you are with your kids?

We Need Something Beautiful to Follow

Do your kids ever move as slow as molasses in the morning?  Well, take a guess about mine.  Today, however, I inadvertently stumbled upon something to make my little one walk more quickly to school.  Bubbles.  I was out on the porch waiting for the kids to get on their shoes.  Since I haven’t cleaned up the porch from all of our summer fun, an assortment of bubble containers greeted me.  Nonchalantly, I meandered down the driveway.  My kids came out and skipped quickly to grasp the translucent pearls floating in the air.  I quickened my pace and the kids gladly followed, feeling as if their walk this morning was magical.  That’s what beauty does for me.

Maybe today, you, like me, need a few bubbles to delight you on your walk.  So, here are three beautiful things that can help you along your path to heaven this day…

Continue reading “We Need Something Beautiful to Follow”

The Birds Sing Out – Why Not You?

I get a lot of eye rolling my direction at Mass.  I think the word today is, “cringey”.  That’s my singing.  I don’t mean to embarrass my kids but, in a way, I can’t help it.  Not to sing and praise God would be for the best part of me to die and the shell of a woman to live.  But its not just Mass.  Its anytime that you and I feel like we have something to contribute, something of value to say, to encourage.  I’m not talking about life without a filter.  Of course timing, sensitivity, appropriateness and likely impact are all incredibly important.  But a lot of us have things inside about life, caution, beauty and love that are just bursting to come out.  Should we be quiet?

For me, its easy to feel that my voice is not important or my words are empty or that they mean little to others.  Other people can say things much better so I’ll just keep quiet.  I was praying about this the other morning while I was outside.  It was a beautiful morning.  The birds were singing, wind blowing gently and the air was fragrant.  As I paused to enjoy, I noticed a small bird repeating the same thing again and again – cauu, cauu, cauu, cauu.  It barely was a song at all.  But she was singing.  All of creation was.  I listened more closely.  The orchestra of birds and bugs which made the magnanimous sound almost entirely seemed to be composed of simple tunes repeated over and over.  Every bird and bug speaking made it better, humble as each one’s abilities were.  Your voice too is part of the beauty.  So, let’s tell our teenage daughters again that they are beautiful.  Let’s talk again with our little ones about responsibility and eye contact.  Let’s muse out loud about the sunset on walks with our friends.  Let’s sing at Mass.