Monday, February 16, 2009

My First Award!

Wow, I was given my first award! How exciting! Thank you, Julie, for sharing the "Lovely Award" and the "Butterfly Award" with me. I appreciate your kindness.

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

I'd like to pass these awards onto:
back to Julie at Joyful Days
Cathy at A Bit of the Blarney
Tracy at A Catholic Mom in Minnesota
Barbara at Praying for Grace
Winging It at The Bird House
Lisa at Unexpected Journey
Marie and Ginny at View from the Pews
Sinéad at Time Well Wasted

Since I am still new to blogging, I do not know if there are any formalities behind passing on these awards, such as if someone should only get an award so many times, and I know all of the people on this list are WONDERFUL, BEAUTIFUL people, so I'm sure some of you have gotten these awards in the past. I apologize if any of you are thinking "not again..." but hope you appreciate this little gesture anyway.

Thank you again, Julie, for finding it in your heart to share this award with me! It did brighten my day!


Red Envelopes

Julie had posted a fantastic idea on her site as a way to remind President Obama about the evils of abortion. I will be shopping for my red envelope this week.

Persistence and assertiveness

Andy (my hubbie), the two boys, and I were praying tonight before the boys' bedtime. Blaise (3 1/2 years) made it through all 5 prayers beautifully, to his credit, but showed his stubborn side... uh, his assertive side... during the "God bless"-es. We said "God bless Blaise, God bless Isaac, God bless Daddy, God bless Mommy," and as we were getting to "God bless Grandma and Grandpa W and ... A," Blaise interrupted and said, "No I want say Mommy Daddy again." So we started over with "God bless"-es. Then he did it again. The first 3 or 4 times were fine. After all, I can use all the prayers I can get. But by the 5th or 6th time, I knew I would need more prayers than he was going to give me if I let that continue on. So we gave him a warning that if he continued to whine.. uh, act so dramatically... he wouldn't get "Grandma's song." He continued to be assertive. So I finished the prayers and said goodnight. Blaise continued whine and cry upstairs despite our insistence that he go to sleep, displaying his healthy persistence.

So I am trying to remind myself that Blaise enjoys prayer, likes togetherness with his mom and dad, is able to persist in the face of adversity, and is assertive and dramatic, rather than focusing on his stubbornness, whininess, and relentlessness. I have just started to read a book by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka called Raising your Spirited Child. The first two chapters are about labels and their affect on our views of our children and their views of themselves and on how we treat them and how they behave, especially with a strong-willed child, such as Blaise. It is interesting to reflect on how our choice of words, even when not spoken aloud, can affect our interactions with our children... especially the sensitive ones. So I am trying to be more positive and can see a difference in the amount of patience I have for him, and I may be seeing a difference in his behavior as well... or maybe I'm imagining it, which is ok since that also gives me a more positive perspective on Blaise's behavior.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I'm finding I'm having a difficult time posting lately, for two primary reasons: lack of time and lack of inspiration. Lack of inspiration is likely partially due to being so tired and worn down. So for a little while, my posts may be sporatic and fairly infrequent, but please do check back.

This last weekend, my husband and I went to a pond hockey tournament with a bunch of his hockey friends. Me and a bunch of guys... and hockey all weekend. While it wouldn't be my first choice in a vacation, it was great. My parents took care of the boys (who apparently were in rare form in whining and disobedience all weekend), so I had no responsibilities except walking around with a digital SLR and two great lenses (my husband's friend's camera... only wish it was mine), with memory cards holding up to a total of around 3000 pictures. I probably took 1000-1200 pictures. I'll have to post a few of my pics once they're sent to me. And my husband's friends are fun to hang out with... good group of guys who like to have some respectable fun and are easy to get along with. My only complaint is that these guys are able to stay up all hours of the night without a problem, while I need a good 7-8 hours of sleep to function normally... and definitely did not get that. My parents are bringing the boys back here in about a half hour, and I can't say I'm ready for them to come home yet, though I do miss them. I'd selfishly like to get one good night's sleep before they come back. Then tomorrow it's back to the grind... Wish me luck! Or, even better, say a prayer for me! :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Only in Love

Reading one of Tracy's posts reminded me of a prayer I LOVED when I was in college. It is wonderful to take it out and pray it again!

God of My Life

Only in love can I find you, my God.
In love the gates of my soul spring open,
allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom
and forget my own petty self
In love my whole being streams forth
out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion,
which makes me a prisoner of my own poverty and emptiness.
In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward you,
wanting never more to return,
but to lose themselves completely in you,
since by your love you are the inmost center of my heart,
closer to me than I am to myself.

But when I love you,
when I manage to break out of the narrow circle of self
and leave behind the restless agony of unanswered questions,
when my blinded eyes no longer look merely from afar
and from the outside upon your unapproachable brightness,
and much more when you yourself, O Incomprehensible One,
have become through love then inmost center of my life,
then I can bury myself entirely in you, O mysterious God,
and with myself all my questions.

Karl Rahner, SJ (from Hearts on Fire - compilation of prayers)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Suffering and Endurance

It has been a long 2 or 3 weeks. When it rains it pours (and it's finally warm enough for a few days to do that outside too!)

Please allow me to list my reasons:
1) My husband started his second semester of classes, with 17 credits
2) My work has presented me with several challenges and "opportunities for growth" (luckily with the benefit of supportive bosses/colleagues)
3) There have been 2-3 bouts of illness making their way through our family (I thank the Lord my husband has not gotten sick yet and shows signs of continued health!)
4) Continued 3 1/2-year "marathon" with a strong-willed child and a now 2+ year old who is, by nature, more laid-back but aspires to be just like his older brother
5) Continuation of a cold winter (until the last couple days!) and promise of more of the same
6) Starting a new blog, something I'm new to and am excited about, but anxious about as well
7) All the above, combined with a tendency toward depression and/or anxiety, has been contributing to my questioning my abilities as a mother, therapist, "writer", sane person, faithful child of God, and, less-so, as a wife.

Yesterday, I read again Romans 5:3-5 (and added it to my "Passages of Hope"): "We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."

When I read this a month or more ago, I skimmed over it, thinking, "yes, Christ gave us hope through His suffering and Resurrection, and by adding our sufferings to His, we can more fully join Him in that hope" (in not so many words). Well, I was finding it really wasn't that simple. Despite giving my difficulties and trials to God, I find I still despair all too often. I was missing a couple steps there. Suffering produces endurance. I believe God is teaching me to endure through my sufferings and in faithfulness to Him, as a first step toward a hope that lasts, that "endures." Hopefully I will someday have words of wisdom on the next two steps, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. :) Until then, I will try my best to be grateful for my lessons in endurance. :)

Blessings to all,

Sunday, February 1, 2009

On Fear of Success

I have watched the entirety of the movie Finding Forrester many times for the closing scene. For me, the climax of the movie is not necessarily where the producer meant for it to be but in an often-enough quoted portion of a letter William Forrester wrote to his young friend, read as the movie is drawing to a close: "We walk away from our dreams, afraid we may fail, or worse yet… afraid we may succeed."

This line strikes me deep to my core. I am afraid of all I am capable of - of the hurt I am able to cause to others, and, even more so, of the good I can do. It is too easy to be content living a mediocre life, a luke-warm faith. But I must attempt to live outside of mediocrity, outside of my comfort zone, and follow my deep desires and the whispers in my soul that I believe must be coming from God. Life is so busy that it is often exhausting just getting through each day, especially when juggling a job, children, a marriage, prayer time (which, unfortunately, is all too often pushed to the back burner), as well as friendships, extended family, and my own sanity. I most often have no energy left to take that step. And what if God asks too much of me? I feel I am doing all I am capable of right now, and yet I feel a strong desire to do more.

But we are capable of so much. We have so many God-given talents, and God has a plan for us appropriate to those gifts He has given us. Often, those gifts and talents are so buried under years of "junk" or are under-developed. Often we underestimate our talents and sell ourselves short. Other times, we are so busy that all we can do is to try to keep up with our lives. Yet, we cannot imagine what God can do with those gifts if we allow Him to. We cannot fathom what He can do with our lives if we open ourselves to Him and to His Will.

Since this grace, this ability to do great things with our talents and our lives, is not of us, we cannot plan what may come of our "yes." In the same way, Gabriel's message for Mary from God inviting her to be the mother of our Lord must have given her some clue as to the extra-ordinariness of her life and the life of her Son, she could not have known fully the result of her "yes" or how wide-spread of the effects of that "yes" would become. She simply had faith in God and trusted His wisdom and promises, saying, "I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done unto me according to thy word." She did not question His wisdom or power or ask how that would affect her life or where it would lead her; she simply gave herself to God with trust that He would provide. We must each do the same.

God does have a plan for our lives; He wants us to do incredible things, even if seemingly small things within the context of the lives we are living. For us, though, the invitation most likely will not come from an angel appearing before us, but from quiet whispers within our hearts. We must quiet ourselves, even within our busy lives, to hear those whispers and give ourselves to God in faith daily, even when we cannot make out those whispers or when God seems to be moving too slowly. We may never know the full result of our "yes," but we will see at least parts of it. We have nothing to fear in stepping out, for, if we do so in faith, God will take care of us. He will use the talents He has given us for His glory and teach us to walk in His beautiful light. As with Mary and Joseph, there may be difficulties and suffering, but God will be with us through everything and will help us to persevere. So we must not walk away from the dreams God has planted within us and the whispers in our hearts, but instead trust in God's Grace and His Will and allow Him to create beauty within us and through us.