Saturday, February 20, 2010

Temptation in the Desert

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone.'" Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, "To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'" Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

"Jesus Christ was tempted, and so he redeemed temptation. What a relief! Now we know that our own temptations can give glory to God. We know that feeling the attraction of evil and the tug of selfishness is no cause for despair; rather it provides an opportunity to exercise our love. Every time we resist a temptation, we extend the Kingdom of God, winning back territory from the devil. Christ didn't come to exempt us from spiritual combat, but to give us strength to fight valiantly for his cause. He is the great champion, and he invites us to battle at his side, sharing in his suffering and his triumphs. He has become one of us, so as to make us just like him."
-John Bartunek, LC, The Better Part


Lord Jesus, I strongly desire to give You glory and extend Your Kingdom through resisting the temptations that the devil presents to me. I am weak, especially in the face of pride and selfishness, but You are strong, and where I am not strong enough to resist, please step in and be my strength so that battles may be won for You. Thank You for coming and sharing in our suffering and temptations, that we may stand side by side with you as we do battle and as we hope to share in your triumphs.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lent



May your Lent be holy and a time of great prayer and fruitful sacrifice. May your desert time bring you closer to our Lord.

Blaise's Calendar

For some time, Blaise has been complaining and whining the mornings he needs to go to the babysitter's house. He likes it there, but he just wants to stay home with me. Over the last 2-3 months, he has been complaining about going to see the speech therapist as well and running out of the room as soon as I bring him in, wanting to go home. But he has always been excited about preschool.

But yesterday was a different story. He takes a school bus from the "big school" where he as speech to the "little school" where he has preschool, two days a week. Yesterday, his teacher couldn't get him off the bus. He wouldn't get off on his own, so she tried to pick him up. He arched his back and starting kicking her. He kept repeating he just wanted to go home.

I don't think its the babysitter's, speech, or preschool. Each of the teachers/caregivers are wonderful. And once he is in any of the settings, he is ok. But he's 4 1/2. I worry about this happening at this age. And I am certain that the reason this is happening is that he has no control over the situation. He wants to be home with me, so he acts up. If I were able to be home with him the rest of the days, I am certain speech and preschool would not be an issue.

Because I cannot change the situation for him, as much as I want to, we did something else yesterday to help him understand what he will be doing each day and to understand the pattern he follows each week. I have been wanting to do this for him for a while.

He drew the lines on the calendar and put the first letters of each of the days on the calendar then approved each of the symbols I used for home, school, and babysitter's. I hope this calendar helps him. Something has to - I don't want him to feel so frustrated.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Being Small

One day, Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." So they put to sea, and as they sailed, Jesus fell asleep. When a squall came down on the lake, the boat started taking in water and they found themselves in danger. So the went to rouse him saying, "Master! Master! We are going down!" Then he awoke and rebuked the wind and the rough water, and they subsided and it was calm again. He said to them, "Where is your faith?" There were awestruck and astonished and said to one another, "Who can this be, that gives orders even to winds and waves and they obey him?"



"We are all fragile and small, no matter how much success we may have experienced in life. Sooner or later we have to face this truth, and when we do, we should follow the example of the apostles. They did the right thing when their resources ran out - they went to the Master. He is always near, even if he seems asleep. And no storm is too great for his calming touch. In fact, the most elemental and uncontrollable powers of nature, the face of which even modern technology has to bow its proud head, meekly obey the word of the Lord" (The Better Part, John Bartunek, LC).

A week ago, I was blessed to go on a mom's retreat with eight other wonderful Catholic moms. The beautiful nun who led the retreat had prayed for the right theme and the right words to deliver to us. The theme she was given is one of becoming great by being small. I believe this spoke to each of us.

There were two parts in particular which spoke to me. The first was regarding having heroic trust in God. I want to be one of those people who have such joy that it radiates from me - to magnify the love of our Lord as Mary did. But I cannot do that by sinking deep into the storms of life, lost in worry. To have heroic trust in God - to turn to Him during each storm life throws at us and to know He will bring us through each storm - produces a freeing of oneself, a freedom from worry. But what is important is not only to have trust in God during those difficult times, but to also have joy and gratitude. To be joyful in the Lord in every situation, to acknowledge that He is still with us in our boat and still very much in control of the situation, perhaps allowing it for refinement of our holiness. To be gracious for the opportunity to be refined, for the opportunity to trust in Him, and for the graces He gives us through the storm.

The second part which spoke to me in a particular way is that of making use of my weaknesses and limitations. In learning to have this heroic trust in God, we must acknowledge that we are weak and sinful and that we are children who are very much reliant on our good Father's strength, mercy, and love. On this earth, we will never reach perfection, and we will never be able to calm storms on our own. We will always fall, and rather than being surprised when we fall again or beginning to despair, we must see this as an opportunity to reach our hands out to God. In fact, the more we accept our weaknesses and the more we turn to God, the more we will realize just how much we do need our Father, constantly pray, and call His mercies and love down upon us, who are His children who He desires to help. I tend to feel like I should be strong enough to handle my own storms without God's help. But God's wisdom and strength in the midst of storms dwarfs my own, and He is able to give commands to calms the howling wind when I am indeed helpless.

Lord, help me to be small, to acknowledge my own weaknesses and limitations and to call upon You at all times. Help me to have heroic trust in You always, trusting You joyfully and graciously through the storms life sends as well as through the calm seas. May I be as a humble child coming with open arms to a loving Father, trusting You to provide me, in Your wisdom, with what I need.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Daybook 2/2/10

I'm going to try to put one of these together. I have learned quite a bit about some of my friends from reading their daybooks that I may not have learned otherwise.

Outside My Window ...

There is a new dusting of snow on the ground, covering the dirty snow and ice that has been lying there for a couple weeks.


I am listening to...
My husband flipping the page of his accounting textbook. He is so good about doing his reading and school work. I admire him. I'm sure that I wouldn't be able to carry a full load of classes while having a family as well as he does, and stay on the dean's list every semester.


To Live the Liturgy…
I've been reading a book that my parents gave me for Christmas: The Better Part by John Bartunek, LC. It runs through the four Gospels and gives very good reflections on each reading. I am on Luke 8 currently.


To be Fit and Happy….
Well, I have joined a 24-hour fitness center in town. I love it because it is literally a 2 minute drive from our house. I tend to go at 8 pm, after we've put the boys to bed. It works out well. I was planning to go tonight but had a very long day at work and was too tired. So instead I ate two bowls of ice cream while checking email and blogs.

I am thankful for ...

My family, of course. And good Catholic mom friends. I have so many good friends that are so supportive. I am blessed indeed.

From the kitchen ...
Whatever Andy cooks. He cooks about 95% of our meals here. He just picked up that responsibility right away when we were married and hasn't looked back since. I look forward to the time I can do more of the cooking but certainly will not complain that he takes that job from me! It's definitely more an adventure when I do cook than when Andy cooks, and not always in a good way!

I am wearing ...
A pair of loose sweatpants, my shirt from work, a fleece jacket, and a blanket wrapped around my shoulders. I don't like to stay in khaki pants longer than absolutely necessary in the evenings, but I didn't have the energy to change my shirt after work today.

I am creating ...
Baby slings! I'm really enjoying making baby slings for a couple of friends... and one for myself too to put away for the next baby. I think I'm going to have to look for sales on fabric and make several more for future gifts!

On my iPod...
What's an iPod?? Just kidding. I don't have one and do not plan on buying one... just my personal preference.


Towards a real education ...

Blaise is starting to initiate little projects, such as cutting snowflakes and punching holes in paper then threading a string through the holes and hanging some of those papers from his paper snowflakes I hung off the curtain rod. Isaac is working on numbers and counting.
I teach Theology of the Body at CCD, though I am slowing down on doing that and may take a break from it next year. Otherwise, I feel that my learning my faith is at a standstill recently.

Bringing beauty to my home ...
I've been hanging paper snowflakes from the curtain rod (which is curtain-less) and other projects from the boys' school and CCD on the walls.


I am reading ...

I have been reading fiction lately, though I don't currently have a book to read (any suggestions??). I have been enjoying a break from my reality by putting my nose in a book.

I am hoping and praying...
For a good transition to Andy's semester for the boys.

Around the house...
Too many things are left undone. Bathrooms need to be cleaned. Toys need to be picked up. Recently, I have less motivation than normal to get these things done.


One of my favorite things ...
Spending quiet time in front of the tabernacle at church... it's been too long since I've done that. This is a good reminder to myself to do that again... soon!


A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...

Tomorrow is my day off... I'll run the boys around tomorrow to and from preschool and speech then to CCD in the afternoon. Work Thurs and Fri... then a RETREAT!!! We have a 24 hour retreat planned for us moms on Saturday! It will be a wonderful day. Please pray for all of us that God may touch us in the way He wishes.

Picture Thoughts...


I am amazed how big the boys are getting! This is Blaise at 16 months and Isaac at 1 month. Now they are 4 1/2 and 3. I am so grateful for the stage they are at now and the independence they are gaining. The baby stage is great... but it was tough with the two boys so close in age. And Blaise, my emotional child, is showing signs at times of learning to control his emotions and enjoying helping out and "making mom happy."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Countdown to Graduation: 16 months

I have been away from the blogging world for 2 months, but today I had the inkling to write two posts. Hopefully this means I am back...

Sixteen more months until Andy's tentative graduation date. Actually, there's a good chance he won't truly graduate in May 2011 like we hope as he will likely have one more class to take, but he is hopeful he'll be able to get a job and work it out with his employer to take off work early for that class. I am hopeful too as I really don't want to start talking about 23 more months to graduation... 16 is enough. And I have faith God will provide.

I wish I had posted a month ago as I would have been able to create a very nice post regarding my improved attitude toward my work. In early December, a friend of mine had told me some words I needed to hear: I am doing my best. Not exactly groundbreaking words, but she said it in such a way that touched me deeply and in a way in which I understood and believed to be true. People have told me I don't have to work as hard as I do, that I'm doing a good job, but no one had quite said it the way she did. As you may guess, I put 110% into patient care and am not satisfied with less than very good (I have learned some time ago that perfection is not possible, but I still strive for very good and am not satisfied with good): not bad qualities in the medical profession, but bad qualities in terms of maintaining personal sanity. This friend said that with all the things I have on my plate, including hypothyroidism, depression, two young children, etc, I really am doing my best as both a physical therapist and as a wife and mother. I began to cut myself some slack. And that in turn created a more positive attitude.

I still am cutting myself some slack but have once again fallen into that negative attitude that I just can't seem to shake. I think there are two primary reasons for this attitude (ok, besides the fact that I just can't seem to pray as I would like, that my mind drifts every time I sit down to pray, and I can easily get through 5 decades of the rosary without praying a single prayer):

One reason is that I really don't think physical therapy is for me. I am a low-energy person in a job that is meant to be filled by someone with high energy. I am a natural introvert who is forced day in and day out to talk to people and take charge in every situation, to give people advice and teach them ways to ease their aches and pains. I am recharged by sitting and resting. When I get a chance to sit at work, there are at least five things on my desk waiting for my attention. And that's when I get to sit and rest. On a busy day, I can have 14 people back-to-back with barely enough time to use the bathroom. I so long to be done with that job. And it's not this specific clinic - in fact, I have never worked for anyone who is more fair in their expectations. I see myself writing instead. Curled in a chair with a computer or notebook on my lap. It is then that I have felt alive... two years ago and earlier.


But before the writing comes the staying home. That is the other reason for my attitude. I long to stay home with the boys. I see how our schedules affect them. My husband was home for 5 weeks between semesters. I don't think I was imagining it: by the fifth week, the boys were listening better and whining less. But even a week into the semester, we are having more problems again with the whining and disobeying. I can't blame them. No two days in one week are the same. My schedule varies by day, and so does Andy's - and therefore, so do the boys' schedules. They never know what to expect. I tried to make a calendar last semester for the four year old, and he didn't understand it. Perhaps I should try that again but in a different format. I do think that kids behave better when they have consistency: both the consistency in discipline that seems to be a catch phrase lately and also the consistency in schedules, in knowing what to expect, in having a feeling of some control over the situation. Our kids just have to go where we tell them to, whether they do so under their own power or with some prodding from us.

I thought I would be able to stay home seven months from now, with three beautiful children. Andy and I found out we were expecting in late December. We were going to sacrifice my income so that I could be home. Unfortunately, I lost the baby two or three weeks later - or so the ultrasound and blood tests say. So now I am left mourning my third child and mourning the hope of staying home in half the time I had previously thought. (While I am sad at times in regard to the miscarriage, I feel very blessed to have a little angel in Heaven to intercede for this family who could really use the intercessions of a special saint.) Luckily, Andy did offer that I cut my hours to twenty hours a week the first of September this year. I am so grateful that he is allowing for this. It will be a sacrifice financially but a more feasible one than my staying home. And we will, God willing, have another child in the spring or summer of next year.

I apologize if this post has a negative current to it. That is how I've been feeling recently. But I do know God is in charge, and I know there is hope. Everything we are doing now will be worthwhile in the end. It just seems to be a long time coming. It is funny that while we are on the journey, time can seem to tick by so slowly, but looking back, it seems as though we blink and it is gone. If you are still reading, thank you for sticking with this update to the end. I promise I will post more positive posts in the future. :)

Making Snowmen!

The boys have been anxious to make snowmen since the first snowfall. Since we live so far north, I would have expected to have snow that is capable of packing enough for a snowman, but the snow has been either too dry or too icy. So I found some cotton balls in the basement that I've had since who-knows-when, and we made snowmen inside.


Isaac gluing the initial cotton balls together to create his snowman.




Blaise glued on a nose, eyes, and a hat then begun to lay down "snow" around his snowman with cotton balls we tore apart.




Isaac's finished product. Kind of a cute little guy, isn't it?




Blaise's finished snowman. Just call him Blaise Picasso.