New Eve

Mommy Mantra December 8, 2014: The LORD God then asked the woman: What is this you have done? The woman answered, “The snake tricked me, so I ate it.” GENESIS 3:13

Both women impact our lives, the world, themselves.  Eve, like many of us, trusts others, she looks outside herself to find guidance.  Maybe she does this because she did not trust her inner voice, or maybe she was naive and could not see when someone is leading her astray; she had to suffer the consequences to learn more.

The LORD God then asked the woman, “Why did you do such a thing?” The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”  Was Eve’s reply an innocent response to God because she did not know she did wrong?  Or was she being defiant?

Mary, the New Eve, is she so different than Eve?  She knows God as Eve did; her difference was trust, trust in God.

Was her thinking different?  Mary when told of God’s plan for her life she said: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Both women known the Lord personally.  But both women react to the Lord in different ways: one more thoughtful, one more impulsive.

Being impulsive it is easier for us to sin, lose our connection with God.  Being thoughtful helps us choose the better path.

Comfort, give comfort to my people

Why are they sharing when I asked them not to!

It’s FYI Wednesday and I have asked fellow Catholic moms for questions that they might have on such topics as motherhood and spirituality, children’s spiritual development, finding time for yourself, or just to learn more about Spiritual Direction; here is the latest question asked by Crystal:

I have a question that is more particular than spiritual: First I want say, I do not post many pics of our under two year old on Facebook for a number of reasons, but my Mother-in-law takes every photo I do post and shares it on her pages. She also uses pics I have texted to her on her Facebook pages. She uses the pics as her profile and cover pics, and never asked me if it is OK.  My mom does not do it.

This habit really annoys me but I can’t explain exactly why, other than that I don’t want people I don’t know having access to pics of my child. I know it is the internet and there is no real privacy but still. I have tried to let it go, knowing she is just proud of her grandchild but it gets to me every time I see my baby show up on her pages. It makes me not want to send her any pics! So, here is what I am dealing with: 1) should I really just try to quit being annoyed or 2) try to find a way to ask her to stop, in a way that won’t make her mad at me, I am already on the bad list with her. We have been married less than three years so I am still new to handling in-laws and have a long life ahead and do not want to have a strained relationship if I can avoid it. How can I deal with this situation?   ~Crystal

Crystal,  Mother-in-law “trouble” is a universal let me speak from personal experience, professionally as a spiritual director and as a future Mother-in-law myself, being a mother-in-law is a reflection of how we perceive the world, relationships, and how we are to be mother-in-law to our married children’s spouse.

Do try and talk with her first, remember that she is excited about her newest grand-baby, and people who are excited they tend to assume everyone else is just as excited as they are, and that you couldn’t possibly mind a few innocent pictures. In fact I will bet you anything that she will be shocked that you are upset, so a HUGE bit of advice, go into it with as light a heart as you can and do the old “Oh I forget to tell you this,” type of talk. That will deflect angry and put her at ease so you can talk with her; if you go in as if you made a mistake in not telling her will be much better and easier on you than going in with “YOU better not post anymore pictures of Susyque” kinda talk. If she, anyone really, feels attacked they tend to defend themselves they will attack back.  By going on the defensive you are creating a situation where listening stops, you want to always be moving forward.

Now on to your feelings. I can tell you are feeling all sorts of upset, violated, even wronged, and those feelings are very strong, valid, and rightfully so! We as moms are biologically/God givenly, (coined a new word!) geared to protect our babies, but don’t make the mistake of  not saying anything out of respect, really out of fear of Mother-in-law, being quiet isn’t respectful it only harbours anger.

Your mom, bless her heart, knows you and I bet you two have talked about your picture policy, but you never mentioned whether you talked Mother-in-law about your photo policy.  If you have and she is ignoring the policy, tell her again and like I said don’t be surprised by the shock. And if you did talk to her and she doesn’t think the policy is really meant for her; that can and will lead you to feel a great deal of disrespect from her. If this is true, she may be saying of you: “she’s young what does she know, posting pictures of my grand-baby is harmless!” This speaks more to your Mother-in-law’s magical thinking of magical protection around her grand-baby, than it does of any disrespect of you, set her straight determinedly, but nicely: more sugar than vinegar, may be with humour.

Let’s consider this: she is disrespectful of you.  If you have discerned this about this situation, and truthfully your whole relationship, pray over why this may be so. Does she have some preconceived notion about you that she will not let go? Is she a helicopter moms? Helicopter moms believe that the only way for a child to live life is if the mom lives it for them, through them and with them. These moms have an impossible time letting go, especially of sons, and everything they do is through the Helicopter mind: cling so they don’t make a mistake. You may be seen as a mistake, so tend very carefully and talk to your husband about how you feel.

Also look at your feelings toward her.  Do you both come from different cultural backgrounds, hold different convictions, see life differently?  Understanding how you see her will help you discern how to handle your responses to her in future.

Disrespect is a tool that can be used by Mother-in-laws who are jealous that some else has come into their son’s life. I am only saying this so you can go pray over this and discern what is going on, but those who are jealous will use passive-aggressive techniques to try and regain control, but in a way they, (the Mother-in-laws), think is sly and that no-one could possibly see as coming from them – the Mother-in-laws. This can be very dangerous for the relationship of your marriage, so it is vital you talk with your husband and that he back you up to his mother.

Here Wikihow has an article on just this subject: How to Deal With a Difficult Mother in Law

Charismatic Prayer

Monday night was the first time in many years that I participated in a Charismatic Prayer Group.

I began my journey with the Charismatic Movement when I was in college at Aquinas.  It was during the heights of the movement; the 1980’s.  The group I was involved with was quite large about twenty young college women so excited to be involved with the movement, ready to receive the Spirit of the Lord.

I remember being very disappointed that I wasn’t “speaking in tongues” as many of the young women were, I am always quiet, saying little, praying silently.  I thought there was something wrong with me, that the Holy Spirit didn’t want me, wasn’t going to “give me” a gift.  It took me many years to understand that I was given a gift, that my style of prayer was just fine, many of my Charismatic mom friends would say that my prayer life “ran deep”; the still waters run deep kinda thing.

I am glad to be back with a group.  The fellowship is wonderful.  Being with people who don’t judge you about your emotional-spiritual life is so reassuring.  The point of the prayer group is to give you a time to be with God, listening for Him and to Him.  In a group you will find a gathering of people who care about what happens in your life, what happens to the world, and the Church as a family.

If you are interested in participating in a Lansing Michigan Charismatic Prayer Group I have provided a list below

Speak to us of children

Lena Levon of Ms Elena Levon came to visit, so I stopped by her blog.  I found on one of her recent posts the meditation of Children written by Kahlil Gibran.

It is my favourite meditation of his and I thought I would share it with you all:

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, and yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward, not tarries with yesterday. “

- Kahlil Gibran
from the book : The Prophet

Dwelling place of God in the Spirit

Mommy Mantra October 28, 2014: Ephesians 2:19-21

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God,built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

This reading from today’s Mass resonated with me to the heart.  Words like household, foundation, capstone, structure, temple, all speak of dwelling: especially household; a place where loved ones gather.  From that household a foundation for life is created by parents who love and siblings who share with each other that parental love and support.  A household is a structure that is hopefully built on the foundation of God and the Great Commandment where parents teach their children values, convictions and beliefs of the church placed on their hearts; and these teachings help propel the children out into the world to do that same.

From that household we are given space, place and time for us to create ourselves as God has called us to be.  Experiences of our lives, reaction to those experiences and how we see God acting in our lives will create us as a dwelling place for the Spirit and from that we invite others into our lives to experience God as we experience Him.


Mother of Nine

Melanie Jean Juneau and I share a similar experience, and label: a pro-life feminist.  If you do a Google search you will see a site that proclaims that you can not be a feminist and pro-life.  I am old enough to have been in college when the feminist movement was at it’s height, the 1980’s.

I remember the movement being so angry towards men, demanding that we as women learn to care for ourselves that we didn’t need men, they were a waste of our time.

It wasn’t until I dated and married my husband that my feelings toward men changed.  I needed my husband and my husband needed me.  God calls us to be in relationship with each other.  Man will leave his father and mother, a woman will cling to her husband.  The Great Commandment tells us the Greatest way we can show our love of God is by how we treat others and ourselves.

I lived long enough to see the feminist movement become more “relaxed” telling women that men and women are equal but different.  Men began to find their sensitive sides and that is a blessing making them more like Christ than the macho attitude of John Wayne and the Marlboro Man.

Feminism has now swung toward the anger it showed in the late 70’s – 80’s.  We are back to standing on one side of the abyss shaking our fists at one an other.  Saint John Paul II called feminism: “The feminine genius” which refers to the idea that all of the ways in which women give of themselves are ways that reflect their capacity for physical or spiritual motherhood.  That we are unique, just as men are, called by God to achieve our best, be our best and fulfill our calling of God.  That being a woman, a mother, a wife is a profound vocation.  But so are all the other things women do: being a nurse, teacher, boss; just so that first things will be first.

Which brings me to Melanie’s blog post.

Pro-Life IS Pro-Women

Perhaps I have finally discovered a label to describe myself – a pro-life feminist. At first glance theses two terms seem to oppose each other but true feminism is not the antithesis of motherhood or a pro-life stance. Contrary to standard stereotypes, one is pro-woman  precisely when one is pro-life. My story is simply a witness of a woman who discovered a liberation as a mother of a large family.

Read the full post here.

Be imitators of God

Mommy Mantra, October 27, 2014: Be imitators of God – Ephesians 5:1
This Sunday the readings were filled with how we are to care for each other, treat each other, and by caring each other well, or treat each other well we show how we love God. Today the First Reading calls us to be imitators of God for God’s love is complete, all encompassing, uplifting.

As moms isn’t that what we are always trying to achieve in our parenting.  We want to see our children as God does.  We want to love our children as God does.  We want to forgive our children as God does.

God tells us to watch how we speak to others, not to fall into the trap of silly suggestive talk and this makes sense to me.  How often have we out of frustration said something to our children, or about our children, that we just wish we could “take back”.  If we are honest with ourselves; sometimes too often.  How we should speak about our children is in thanksgiving, thinking about, talking about all the positive things that have happened in our lives with our children, parenting and marriage.  Getting into the habit of doing that will do amazing things to cause positive changes in our lives, our children’s lives and our marriage.



Mommy Mantra October 14, 2014: Gal 5: 1-6 “… stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery”
Paul speaks right to the heart of the matter, he is saying to the early Church don’t get caught up in the law it will only draw you away from what is important: Christ.

One of the many things that can draw us, as moms, away from Christ: the pursuit of perfectionism. There is no perfect mom. That is a myth that needs to die. The only thing it will lead to is competition. And competition leads to envy, which leads to gossip, which leads to superiority.

None of these are remotely helpful, Christian, or loving.

Stories of mother’s prayer

susan hiddenThis is a joyous Facebook post.  For almost a month her sweet ten year old daughter was sick with some unknown and worrying illness, it took days for doctors to determine that her daughter had appendicitis.  For her, her husband and son it was a terrifying time. A time when you need to reach out.  Being the new Millennium means reaching out to friends, family and nieghbours through social media: Facebook.  It was through Facebook a strong and faith-full community came and rallied around this family, filling them with prayers, support and love.  Every day the community, (both virtual and physical), anxiously waited for updates.   Every day prayers where posted, Masses offered, all with the knowledge that when two or more are, (virtually), gathered together there is God.   The community stormed heaven with prayers of healing for the sweet girl sick in her hospital bed.  Prayers for strength for mom and dad as they stay a prayerful vigil at the bedside of their little girl.  Prayers for big brother so he will still feel warm support as mom and dad deal with little sister’s health support.  Prayers for the doctors and nurses who worked to bring their sweet girl to full health.

Now, the prayerful mothering experience of a young mom who sought out God’s call for the best way to educate her lovely school aged son entering first grade.  Here is her story of prayerfully discerning the best and most supportive way to educate her son. It is certainly not the typical first grade experience.

We started off the year at a private school, which our son has attended for the 3 previous years for preschool and Kindergarten. Things did not go well. He was struggling both academically and socially. We pulled him out of school in the middle of the 2nd week. We decided to try homeschooling. Things have turned around into such a positive experience since our son has been homeschooling. He seems to have regained a love for learning (which he loathed learning in his former school). He read his first book! He was SO proud! I’m jealous his dad gets to be the one with him all day long, (I work 8-5, M-F) but I’ve been doing lessons on the weekends. It has been going really well and we think we may do this for more than one year now! We initially thought we’d hire a tutor to come to our home but after a few communications she stopped responding. We’ve been doing fine on our own, so I took that as a sign that we don’t need someone else to do it for us. I feel like this has been one of those “everything happens for a reason” experiences. Although it felt like hell getting here, I am so glad we ended up where we are now.”

Then there is this very imporimmodest dresstant thread being discussed on a Facebook group focusing on Catholic Moms.  A newly married woman, (who I am not sure is yet a mom, if she is than her children must be very young), posted about her experience of a recent Mass.  She was upset with a Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist who, for whatever reason, was not totally “there” when discharging her duty, but what caught my eye was her throw away statement of young girls; I read here that the girls who must have been preteen/teen agers, dressing immodestly for the celebration of the Baptism during that recent Mass.  This struck me in the heart because it is a HUGE issue, one I have dealt with personally and professionally.

My reply to her posting was of a very personal experience of how a family member of ours was being talked about during a Mass, and what was being said was very hurtful.  This thread had many members of the group posting replies to me in support and of their own mothering experience of their own troubled girls in their own family who were/are dealing with emotional-spiritual issues that they express their pain through their dress.  This preteen/teen girls’ dress is more a call for help, love and support than derision and hurtful-loving help not understanding the moms feel such pain when they and their girls were judgedrd instead of prayed for.  One of the members posted perhaps the best understanding of the aspects of prayer: that our experiences can be transformed by God into wisdom for others and our self, she wrote:  “And God uses us and struggle to help others.”

10689545_10202678678597317_1759546044157950620_nFinally, this loving senior portrait.

I posted this reply to this young woman’s Facebook timeline: “Look at this senior picture, really look at it. First off how many seniors would have their mothers in the picture, very few; so what does that say? It says that here is a daughter, (Kateri), who understands and values her relationship with her mother, who understands the sacrifice and work of her mother, and how that work, in all it’s aspects, shaped her into the woman she is becoming.

Secondly, look at Dawn’s face! She is beaming! As she should be!

Both Kateri and Dawn’s face just glow!