OMG look at her!

Mommy Mantra for Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting.

Last weekend we saw the movie “Hail Caesar!”  The movie is set in the 1950’s and one of the main characters was very Catholic who prayed his rosary when seeking wisdom about a problem, went to Reconciliation, daily. The movie directed by the Cohen Brothers, treated the faith very respectfully.

That Sunday our pastor had a wonderful homily:  For him, he is a priest in his very early 60’s, Lent is a time to look at what God is calling you to change, not just giving something up but being willing to accept new positive habits, becoming a new person, being resurrected with Christ as someone profoundly changed.  He recalled his childhood and early teens when “Catholic Guilt” was in full flower.  When he was young the idea of God’s love was the same as love in the 50’s – 60’s, no matter what you do it isn’t going to be good enough.

The movie has the Catholic main character going to Reconciliation every 24 hours. Something I know from my own childhood was very common, in fact required to be seen as a Catholic in good standing.  The priest character listening to his sins is so gently trying to tell him that he didn’t need to come every day, (something I know wouldn’t have had happen, that was more a reflection of today).  Our pastor’s homily comes to mind, now reflecting on the Reconciliation scenes, the fact so many would gravel to God.   The Catechism, here I paraphrase, states that a Catholic in good standing are obliged to confess their serious sins at least once a year (CIC 989), but the minimum should not be made a maximum.  Catholics should come to confession as soon as possible after they’ve committed a mortal sin. If they’re seeking to grow in holiness, the regular practice of confession at least once a month is commended.  For God desires steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6

Lent as I understand is probably as exactly as Jesus wanted from the beginning: Spiritual Renewal.

Happy Ash Wednesday

Good Morning God

As a spiritual director I advise many moms to start the day talking with God.  This way a mom can review her day, her goals in balance with what God has called her to be, do.  But me, do I do that?  Not as often as I would like.  I know, KNOW, in the depths of my heart that my day will go sooooooo much better if I spent time with God.  These few minutes both day and night will help me feel more in control of my life, the way my life will go, what has happened to me/my life during the day, because I will have the Big Guy on my spiritual/emotional radar.  I will be looking, if not actively, spiritually, for God during my day.

I will more likely be aware of what is going on in my life than feel as if life is hitting me about the face with a wet trout.  So, why do I allow myself to be controlled by events instead of controlling those I can?  Simplest answer: Habit, fear, and laziness.

Habit:  I have become so comfortable by not trying that it is just easiest to do nothing but those things that don’t move me forward, (require work), because I use the excuse that I am just a mom.  Which if you think about is pretty insulting to God and Mary.  After all Mary, as a MOM, had a huge rule in Jesus’ life.  Wasn’t it she who prompted Jesus at the Wedding as Canna?  And as for God.  Didn’t He choose Mary to bear His Son?  So, being a mom must be something special for God.

Fear:  I have let my thoughts that I am unworthy, (a lie 0f satan), become my guiding principle.  This isn’t the unworthiness of being present before God, something I think we would all feel; no, this is the worthiness that make you feel invisible, as if you want to hide from everyone like a small frightened animal.  (Often this feeling of worthiness comes from having being constantly told that you/I are/am  unworthy until you/me are convinced that their lie is greater than God’s truth.)

Laziness: The child of Habit and Fear.  Laziness tells you/me to hide.  By hiding I mean doing anything that keeps me from doing those things that help me fulfill my calling.  I would watch TV, nap, play on the computer, not care for myself; because why should I no-one will take me seriously, I have nothing to say.

So, this Lent I am making the commitment to daily spend time reviewing my day with God, doing things to move me forward; pray for my Lenten success I will definitely pray for yours.

Lent ISN’T just giving up, IT’S adding on

12717628_951584168210880_1099224796633797260_nI loved what our Pastor had to say this past Sunday: Lent is a time to look at what God is calling you to change, not just giving something up but being willing to accept new positive habits, becoming a new person, being resurrected with Christ as someone profoundly changed.

I believe this so much.  We must come through Lent a different person.

Some resources to help you on your Lenten journey:

I am Your temple Lord

Mommy Mantra for February 9, 2016
feb 9 2016

1 KGS 8:22-23, 27-30

May your eyes watch night and day over this temple, the place where you have decreed you shall be honored; may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place.

This is from the first reading for today, what did I hear?  I heard this: God watch over me, (this temple-my person), the place where you have decreed you shall be honoured, (my life/my calling being expressed through my actions), may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place, (through my mental/verbal prayers).

OMG….God I am beginning to understand You

Whatever villages or towns or countryside he (Jesus) entered.....begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;and as many as touched it were healed.

Mommy Mantra February 8, 2016

Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed. MK 6:53-56

As I listened to the Gospel, hearing of the people pressing up to Jesus wanting to be heal, pushing each other to be the first to get to Jesus, fighting to be able to touch a tassel; I was brought back to my children as toddlers.

We have all experienced our children coming to us, running to cling to our legs when things just didn’t seem right.  Our children came/come to us when they are hurt seeking help from us.  Our children who look at us as those people looked to Jesus: a source of comfort, love, healing.

I sat up in my pew suddenly aware of an aspect of God I was beginning to understand better: God the loving Nurturer.  This realization makes me wonder how much more I will become aware of this Lent, this Year of Mercy.

Moms remember why and how God created us

Nancy MacGregor

This is one of the best posts I’ve read about woman… Please read it completely… it’s worth it…

WOMAN. . . . . . . . .

When God created woman he was working late on the 6th day…….

An angel came by and asked.” Why spend so much time on her?”

The lord answered. “Have you seen all the specifications I have to meet to shape her?”

She must function on all kinds of situations,
She must be able to embrace several kids at the same time,
Have a hug that can heal anything from a bruised knee to a broken heart,
She must do all this with only two hands,”
She cures herself when sick and can work 18 hours a day”

THE ANGEL was impressed” Just two hands…..impossible!

And this is the standard model?”

The Angel came closer and touched the woman”
“But you have made her so soft, Lord”.
“She is soft”, said the Lord,
“But I have made her strong. You can’t imagine what she can endure and overcome”

“Can she think?” The Angel asked…
The Lord answered. “Not only can she think, she can reason and negotiate”

The Angel touched her cheeks….
“Lord, it seems this creation is leaking! You have put too many burdens on her”
“She is not leaking…it is a tear” The Lord corrected the Angel…

“What’s it for?” Asked the Angel….. .
The Lord said. “Tears are her way of expressing her grief, her doubts, her love, her loneliness, her suffering and her pride.”…

This made a big impression on the Angel,
“Lord, you are a genius. You thought of everything.
A woman is indeed marvellous”

Lord said.”Indeed she is.
She has strength that amazes a man.
She can handle trouble and carry heavy burdens.
She holds happiness, love and opinions.
She smiles when she feels like screaming.
She sings when she feels like crying, cries when happy and laughs when afraid.
She fights for what she believes in.

Her love is unconditional.
Her heart is broken when a next-of-kin or a friend dies but she finds strength to get on with life”

The Angel asked: So she is a perfect being?
The lord replied: No. She has just one drawback
“She often forgets what she is worth”.

As the late Bishop Pavich would have said: “Yes, You’re sinner, get over it!”

12651005_1042003345822878_4753864522810936798_nSpiritual Theme: This Sunday we read in the Gospel Simon Peter say to Jesus: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” He felt so unworthy of what Jesus was inviting him to do.

As mom’s, we can feel the same way. How often have you said: “Me? I’m just a mom.” God doesn’t see us as just a ____ anything. Everything we do, are called to do are important to God’s plan.

Sunday’s first reading was Isaiah IS 6:1-2A, 3-8; Isaiah was a prophet of the southern kingdom. His call to a prophetic life took place in the year that King Uzziah died (740 B.C.), during a critical period in the history of the nation. Uzziah was one of Judah’s greatest kings; there was great conflict internally and externally.  During this time of conflict the prophet felt as if he was not worthy to speak for God.  He was unclean of lips.  As I pointed out in the Spiritual Theme, Simon Peter proclaims: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Both Isaiah and Simon Peter look around themselves and sees nothing but the sinfulness of others, importantly that they see the sinfulness of themselves.  It makes them feel vulnerable,  naked, exposed.  Maybe that is what God wants. He wants us to become vulnerable so God can wipe out what is holding us back, how sin keeps us stagnant. God wants us aware of who we are, to become naked so God can reclothe us anew.  God exposes what we have done, what we need to change so there is nowhere to hide only to see the positive change.

At no time does God rage, scream, belittle Isaiah or Simon Peter.  He purges sin, removes, REMOVES, the guilt.  God changes these men internally.  The changes strengthens them as they do as they have always done.  These men didn’t become superman, eliminating sin, no they still sinned.  To God that didn’t matter.

So why does it matter to us, moms.  Why do see ourselves as so unworthy/unclean that we become invisible to God to our call, to our lives!  During this year of Mercy I pray we have Mercy for ourselves.

Boy when things go bad you get your head on a plate

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 18-31, 47, 50, 51“He saves his king time after time, displays his faithful love for his anointed, for David and his heirs for ever. Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 18:31, 47, 50, 51″

Oh Lord save me from these kids, this day, my hubby, my job!  Every mom knows these feelings: when nothing is going right.  Just the day before we felt like David, we felt like all that AND a bag of crisps. Then there are days when our head is on a plate and nothing we have done has been right.

That is when we realize that God displays His love for us, our family, loved ones, co-workers, community.  Something will happen during our day that will help turn things around.  Or we will get one of those “divine inklings” that we would be better off if we just change our attitude/view/idea.

We just need to keep our eyes, (spiritual and physical), open for all the ways we can change the day.

Help turning that frown upside down by living love: 

1. Do something nice for someone else. We hear this all the time, but don’t often know why it works.  Bad days can make us wallow in the why me of it all.  If we force ourselves to break out of the pattern it changes us, physically. The Happy chemistry of our brains: endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine; God has created to help us with pain, (endorphin), gives us warm loving/mommy feelings, (oxytocin), experience the joy we feel when we are out in the sun on a beautiful day, (serotonin), and dopamine which helps us take pleasure in our lives; these all are activated when we step out of selves to do something for someone else.

2. Do something that lifts your mood. Lifting our mood has the same effect as doing something for others. With this we have stepped out of the wallowing and are deliberately putting us into a better STATE of MIND.  We are creating a new being/us.  God doesn’t want us to wallow that puts us in the realm of the negative.

3. Discern what could be at the heart of it all. Sometimes we can stand in front of our wall calendar and stare at it like deers in the highlights, then fear grips us and freeze in place.  Or we walk into the kitchen and find our lovely loved ones have “cooked” but the idea of cleaning up eludes them, again we can freeze.  So what can you do? First start by thinking about all you have to do try and put it into perspective. Identify what it is that’s concerning you, and break it down to smaller, manageable goals/tasks.  Is God asking you to understand if you take on more than you can do? Do you have to do it all, after all you didn’t make a huge mess in the kitchen? This step speaks to how you feel you are being perceived by others.  Is God calling you to look at how well you respect yourself.  When you feel walked upon, you feel disrespect. Can you visualise how good you’ll feel when you’ve got through it? By reducing the problem, you contain it, and it needn’t ruin the rest of your day.  What this really means is God wants us to take control of what we can in our lives.