Sunday, November 16, 2014

Grief After a Move

I've moved many times.  It's always a difficult process.  Not only do you deal with transporting all of your stuff, but you also deal with sorting through a number of different emotions.  Depending on the reason for the move, you may be relieved or depressed. Depending on the situation you are moving into, you may be ecstatic or full of dread.

Right now, it's been five months since our last move.  I miss the friends I had to leave behind.  I miss the church and school communities that felt like family.  The outpouring of support from that community following the birth of my second son was outstanding.

Today, I realized that I haven't really grieved my losses since my family moved.  Here and there, I have felt sad, but before today, I didn't allow the emotions to unfold.  I'm not sure why.  Perhaps, I was overwhelmed by the tasks of settling into a new house, town, and church.  I guess it just wasn't time yet.

This past weekend, we visited our old town.  It was a little emotional, because it's the one year anniversary of a tornado touchdown that destroyed large chunks of the community. My family was in town the day of that tornado--we were in church with some of the people who lost their homes.  Surviving the disaster bonded us with the community in a way that can't be replicated.

Maybe remembering that scary day prodded my emotions along.

No matter the cause, I will allow myself to feel this pain and to recognize this loss.  I will not rush myself--I will process my feelings as I need to.

Eventually, little-by-little, I will get the courage to meet new people.  I will join the choir or invite someone over for coffee or maybe even seek out a moms' group.  I will entrust this to God.  I will pray for Him to place some good people He would like me to meet in my life, and I will try to be patient.

In the past, my relationships didn't develop overnight, and I know it will take time here, too.

I will pray that God will place good friends in my husband's and my son's lives, as well.

We prayed about and entrusted this move to God prior to my husband's job assignment, and I believe that we are here for a reason.

I will trust in you, Lord.

Friday, November 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes about "The Hour of Power", "Carefree Timelessness", and a great quote


432 months
I recently completed yet another revolution around the sun.  My younger son is small enough that his age is still communicated in months.  I thought it would be fun to enumerate my life in months, too.


"Hour of Power"
Drew Mariani from Relevant Radio usually prays the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at the 3 o'clock hour.  I pick up my older son from school around that time, so I usually catch a bit of it.  Captivating.  It's such a good reminder to pray during that time, and it's uplifting to hear stories of the answered prayers.  I highly recommend tuning in to Drew's program either on the radio (stations & affiliates), the web, or the app.


Writing preferences
This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend a craft fair at our church.  I happened upon an artisan who was selling some lovely, fabric-covered notebooks.  I've since done some writing in the one I bought, and I realized how much I enjoy putting the pen to the paper.  I think the very act of scribbling may be more therapeutic for me than typing.  What do you prefer:  The keyboard or paper and pen?


Fair Trade
I've been thinking a lot lately about the people who make the stuff I buy.  Every once in a while, I wonder what I can do to contribute to a fair wage--ever since college when I was part of a group called the Sweatshop Action Coalition.  Unfortunately, coming away from that experience, I did not feel very empowered.  At that time, alternatives to buying items made in sweatshops or factories which used questionable work practices were slim.  Now, besides buying second-hand goods, there are many more options for purchasing "fair trade" items.  Catholic Relief Services offers an online list of retailers who sell fair trade products--clothing and beyond.  Perhaps you will find some Christmas gifs for your loved ones in these online shops!


"Carefree Timelessness"
On my drive home after meeting a friend for lunch, I caught a Matthew Kelly talk on the radio.  He touched on several themes; however, one idea stuck with me.  According to Kelly, people in thriving relationships engage in "carefree timelessness."  I thought about my fondest memories involving my husband, children, family and friends.  Many of these moments of carefree timelessness were spent on vacations, but just as many were activities that cost little to nothing.  For example, several of the activities that have strengthened our bonds include taking leisurely hikes through the woods or strolls around the neighborhood.


I am currently listening to another Lighthouse Catholic Media talk--this time on the theme of suffering.  I am looking forward to listening a second time, while taking notes, because the speaker, Matthew Leonard, weaves inspirational scripture within his storytelling and explanation.  I plan on revisiting this talk, so I won't reveal too much, except that you have to listen to it just to hear the magnificent words his young daughter said to him during her own time of suffering.  Absolutely breathtaking.


Really Good Quote
While on the subject of suffering, I wanted to share with you a quote from Mother Assumpta Long.  I was blessed to be able to see her speak at the latest Behold Conference.  She said,

"Suffering will make you bitter or better."

Thank you, Mother Assumpta.

Today, Kelly from This Ain't the Lyceum, is hosting 7QT.  Head on over there for more Quick Takes!

Friday, November 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes About "Contemporary Sainthood," "Losing Nothing of Ourselves," & Other Fantastic Ideas


"Contemporary Sainthood"
I just listened to a very inspiring Lighthouse Catholic Media talk entitled "Contemporary Sainthood" by Mark Hart. Although he is addressing an audience of teens, the message applies to anyone aged teen and above.  In the first talk (it's a double feature), Mark Hart contends that if we are constantly bitter, angry, or bored, it could be due to our lives not being in line with our call to be saints.  He shares ideas regarding how to "unleash" the power to becoming a saint, as well as a profound insight from Pope Benedict XVI that I want to remember always:
 "You were not designed for comfort; you were designed for greatness." 


We Lose Nothing of Ourselves
In my most recent post, I reflected on ideas for increasing simplicity, appreciating beauty, and finding truth.  I shared some thoughts on Jesus's call for us to give to others, without a calculation of whether or not we will get some type of return on our "investment":

"...we are called to love, help, and be kind even to those for whom it is difficult to love, help, and be kind.  This can be very difficult.  It requires a firm foundation in identity, a knowledge that we are loved immensely by God, maturity, humility, and the understanding that if our gift is not reciprocated or even if it is rejected, we have not lost anything of ourselves.  Nothing is lost when you attempt to give genuine love to others.  Love is multiplied no matter the response."


Not the Right Season
With having a toddler, I am not able to volunteer at my older son's elementary school during school hours.  I was able to do that quite often before my younger son was born, so it doesn't bother me too much.  However, when I do feel a tad bit guilty that I'm not willing to find a daytime sitter so I can help with lunch duty or room parties, I think of this helpful post from Kathryn at Team Whitaker.


"Listening Room"
I absolutely love the tone of this post from Nell of Whole Parenting Family.  Her idea of making it known to your child that you are listening to him or her is such a tender, yet firm approach to parenting a sensitive child.  I just love the idea of a "listening room," where he knows you have heard him, and he also learns to hopefully hear you.   The entire post is helpful, because it reinforces that you need to have a plan of what you will do when your child begins to melt down.  For me, a plan = less yelling.


"Little Moment Parenting"
Another blog post that I really appreciate is one by Bonnie Engstrom of A Knotted Life, in which she explains why she has decided to go from "Big Picture Parenting" to focusing more on the day-to-day opportunities. Very enlightening.


Skyview App
As part of my older son's scouting activities, we visited a nearby planetarium and learned interesting tidbits about the constellations, the stars, the planets and more.  With this newfound appreciation for outer space, I decided to download the free app, SkyView.  It's a lot of fun to hold my phone up to the night sky and find constellations, names of stars, planets, the international space station, and information about the moon.  It's a great app, and it's FREE!


Scarf Tying Tutorial
Some international co-workers of my husband visited the U.S. over the summer, and they brought a gift for me.  I was surprised and delighted; that was really thoughtful of them!  They gave me a scarf (for fashion, not warmth).  Well, it has some beautiful what-I-would-call fall colors, so I decided to give it a try on Sunday.  I figured I could find a nice how-to guide online regarding how to wear it, and I found this video, which I really liked.  Since there are only eight main examples, I didn't feel too overwhelmed, which was important to me since I'm a newbie.

Thanks for hosting, Jen!  For more Quick Takes, go to!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Simplicity - Beauty - Truth

If you are interested in ideas to simplify your life, if you are a lover of beauty, and if you are searching for Truth, then this post is for you.


Although it can be good to pray different types of devotions, they are not necessary.

The Holy Rosary is a beautiful prayer, as it calls upon the intercession of Mary (asking Mary to pray for you) and allows you to meditate on the Gospels.  If you can pray one daily or if you can pray a Decade daily, then that's great!  You may be surprised at how you suddenly DO have time to squeeze one in when you entrust this to God.  The same goes for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy--what a beautiful prayer of compassion, love, and forgiveness!  However, if your day or your season of life is completely crazy--if you are in survival mode--you may only be able to pray some of the Rosary or some of the Chaplet (maybe not all in one sitting)--or perhaps none at all.

I don't think God cares.

What He cares about is being with you.  Are you "present" to Him every day?  Are you open to how He wants your day to pan out?  Do you trust His care for your life?

Go to Him throughout your day and just be with Him.  This is the more important thing.


Aesthetics can be wonderful.  God gave the world physical beauty, such as unspoiled nature, and He gave humans the ability to create magnificent works of art (paintings, photography, sculptures, song, dance, storytelling, and more).  However, we know that beauty which delights the senses is not the only type of true beauty.

There is a deeper sort of beauty.

Caring for an ailing loved one.
Sticking it out in a relationship when it no longer seems convenient or gratifying.
Allowing someone to help you in your time(s) of need.
Listening to those who feel isolated.
Recognizing your own limits and attempting to take care of your body by getting adequate rest, nourishment, and physical activity.

These are some examples.


In today's Gospel reading, Jesus instructs us to do loving acts for the right reasons.  When we offer love, we should not expect some type of return from the recipient(s).  This is a challenging assignment.

Our culture seems to be quite driven by reinforcements.  When it comes to certain tasks, if I receive no positive reinforcement, sometimes I find it very difficult to continue with that task.  That is, unless I somehow derive an internal positive reinforcement from the action.  I find that the momentum of habit can also aid in continuance of a task that is good, yet quite unpleasant.

One type of internal, positive reinforcement experienced from helping others may be the cliched "warm, fuzzy feeling."  Awareness that doing something loving can improve the recipient's life (even if they are ungrateful or oblivious) can be another form of motivation for doing good.  Remembering that we are God's hands and feet--that our gestures of love can be examples of God's love to another--can reinforce to us the importance of gift-giving without an expectation for reciprocity.

In summary, we are called to love, help, and be kind even to those for whom it is very difficult to love, help, and be kind.  This can be very difficult.  It requires a firm foundation in identity, a knowledge that we are loved immensely by God, maturity, humility, and the understanding that if our gift is not reciprocated or even if it is rejected, we have not lost anything of ourselves.  Nothing is lost when you attempt to give genuine love to others.  Love is multiplied no matter the response.

What are your thoughts on devotions, true beauty, and Truth?  Feel free to leave a comment!

You can also follow me on Bloglovin'!