What I Read: Quarterly Review

Hi Everyone!

I took a little break from my blog for a while.  While I love pouring my thoughts out in writing, it definitely takes a lot of mental work and effort!  In keeping with my lenten observance (to focus first and foremost on resting in God), I found myself a bit freer to put my energy towards my family and some of the other things I love to do, like reading! 

One of my New Years resolutions was to actually finish the books I start.  I’ve always had a terribly bad habit of picking up a book, only to get pulled in by another, and another.  Before I know it, I end up reading multiple books at once and as a result so many remain unfinished.

Since I made this resolution, my reading has improved dramatically. (Go figure!)  I’ve read some really great books, and have decided to share what I’m reading with you on a quarterly basis!

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“John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father” by Peggy Noonan

If you know me, you know I love just about anything Saint John Paul related. If a book acknowledges the greatness of the man in its very title…well, you know I am in.

My dad gave me this book, and I quickly threw myself into it.  I couldn’t put it down!  I obviously loved all of the stories about John Paul, but the thing I loved about this book was the author’s particular perspective.  She was a woman touched personally by this Saint and his life deeply impacted her conversion of heart.  I loved hearing how he touched her life personally (as he did so many people) and how her encounters with him helped shape and strengthen her faith.

I also loved that, as a convert and journalist, she kept things real.  She talked about some of the deep and hard realities that faced John Paul in the his time as Pope, and she didn’t water anything down for the sake of her readers.

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“No Greater Love” by Mother Teresa

I don’t know why, but I have never read anything by or about Mother Teresa before.  It is shameful to admit, but I’ve always just chalked it up to the fact that I already kind of knew who she was.  She’s Mother Teresa after all! 

I was really wrong.

Hearing about Mother Teresa’s life (now Saint Teresa of Calcutta)is entirely different than hearing about it in own words.

Some of the stories I’ve heard about her work came to life in this book, and it was so special to read about all she did through her own words; reading this book was truly humbling, to say the least.  Saint Teresa was not extraordinary in any superhuman sense; she was an ordinary person accomplishing simple acts of love for the sake of human dignity.  Through her life and her actions, she reminds us that loving authentically and responding to God’s will oftentimes means taking care of the weak, suffering, and needy who are already within our very midst.

Her words on the Eucharist, prayer, love, holiness, death, and Jesus were all very moving.

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“On the Other Side of Fear: How I Found Peace” by Hallie Lord  

I flew through this book!  After reading two books from a couple of spiritual giants, breaking open this one was a bit refreshing.  That’s not to say that Hallie isn’t saintly, but rather that her book felt a bit more familiar.  Reading it felt similar to sitting down with a friend for a cup of coffee, chatting about our thoughts on motherhood and marriage, while our kids play in the background.  She shared a lot of wisdom about what it means to shed fear and learn to rest in God, amidst the chaos of marital and parental life.  Her book was a sweet reminder that all of us are called to holiness. 

 

temperament“The Temperament God Gave You” by Art and Larain Bennett 

This book was recommended to me by a couple of friends in my women’s group at church.  They kept talking about it non-stop, so I thought, I’ve got to see what this is all about. 

It didn’t take me long to become enthralled with this book, either.  I took the test right away and discovered my temperament to be a very close combination of the sanguine and choleric temperaments (sanguine being the slightly more dominant). At first, I wasn’t convinced that I entirely fell into either categories, but after reading the synopsis of the combination of the two, I was amazed that it described me almost to a tee.

This book has been beneficial to me in so many ways.  I have taken some of the other personality tests out there and found some to be pretty good (I am a ENFJ-A Protagonist), but what I really loved about this book was that it was written from the perspective of the faith.  It shined a light on the fact that God made each and every one of us uniquely different, but at the same time, he stuck to a sort of template.  There are four basic temperaments that everyone falls under, each referring to the natural tendencies and reactions we all have.  I found that especially helpful in coming to understand myself a bit more, and how I relate to other people.  The things that mark my temperament have always sort of been the things I want to push down and wash over.  The book described my combined temperament to have the tendency to be overly talkative, brassy, opinionated, loud, rash, swift to jump to conclusions, and forgetful.  Who wants to be any of those things? What I began realizing, though, is that with all the negative qualities of particular temperaments, there comes a lot of good and unique characteristics.  This book helped me understand that God created me with the temperament I have, and I have the ability to use that temperament to glorify him with my life.   Reading this book is helping me own who I am.   A lot of the things that I’ve always been ashamed of about myself are actually ways in which God wants to use me for his glory!

This book is also beneficial in coming to understand how we relate to others in our differences.  It was eye opening for me, because it really allowed me to see that the things I often dislike about others are due primarily to a difference in temperaments.  Understanding that has helped me to be more patient with others, and to respect that when they do and see things differently, it’s because they are different–and that’s okay.  It’s also helped me respect and come to understand my husband and my kids on a deeper level!

I definitely recommend this book!

 

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“The Atheist Delusions” by David Bentley Hart

This was the only book that I got through in February.  That kind of tells you what kind of a book it is.

It was super chewy and took me forever to get through! 

David Bentley Hart’s thorough review of the Christian revolution and analysis of the many misrepresentations of the Christian past was incredibly revelatory and sophisticated.  The ease with which he poured out his grueling assessment of the cultural challenges we face today, as well as his brilliant knowledge about Christianity’s influence on the Western Civilization, was impeccable.  He dismantled so many of the modern-day arguments for atheism, simply by explaining and laying out historical facts that have been diluted and distorted to fit a certain “narrative” against Christianity.

If you have the gumption and the energy, this is a fantastic read.

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The Life of Christ in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”

I am currently (slowly) working on obtaining my certificate in the Catechism of the Catholic Church from Catholic Distance University.  In my last course I was assigned the Life of Christ portion in the Catechism.  I know it’s kind of cheating to include this in my “What I Read” list, but it was a huge portion of the reading I did in March (about 200 pages).

You guys…the Catechism is so rich! (I know I am stating the obvious.)  It is not a book meant to collect dust on your shelf.  It should be read hand in hand with Scripture!  It reads really well from cover to cover, and I highly encourage you to pick it up and start reading it today. Read a few portions a day, or follow a plan to read the whole thing in a year!

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“The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis 

The Screwtape Letters was another sort of assigned reading for me this month.  It was picked by my women’s group at Church, and I was excited to participate in this one.

 

I’ve read most, but not all, of this book before, so I was so glad to finally finish it.  It was so good, and so applicable for every day living.  It was a great reminder that the devil and his demons are always at work, seeking to distort and twist God’s plan for love and for our lives, and to distract us from our ultimate goal: eternal life with the great Enemy of the devil, Our Lord, and Our God. 

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“Orthodoxy” by G.K. Chesterton 

It’s a bit hard to say which was my favorite read since the year began, but if I had to choose…it would be G.K’s Orthodoxy.  

I was listening to one of Bishop Robert Barron’s podcasts on G.K., and he describes Orthodoxy so perfectly.  He described it to be the kind of book that is so rich and so sparkly that, like champagne, you just want to sip on it slowly, savoring every delicious taste.

While reading this book, I found myself  time and time again placing it on my chest, closing my eyes to really relish all that he had to say. It is a great read, and one which will both inspire and awaken your faith–in God and in the Church.

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“Padre Pio: Man of Hope” by Renzo Allegri 

This book was one I was really into about a year ago, and for some reason (again, probably my incredibly bad habit) it ended up on my shelf, half read.  I still had it bookmarked where I left off, so I picked it back up and read the second half I still had left to read.

So much of the profound beauty of the life of Padre Pio came in his being rooted to deep suffering and pain.  Padre Pio endured so much suffering in his life–physically (with the stigmata and his failing health at the end of his life), mentally (with the constant scrutiny and opposition he faced), and spritually (with his frequent battles with the devil)–but it is in and through that suffering that he exemplified his great love for God and hope in His plan for his life.

Reading all the stories written by his personal friends had me wishing I was one of them.  He took such loving care of the people he was fond of, and any closeness to him meant being closer to God.  What an incredible gift we are given in the lives of the Saints.  It is such a blessing to be able to develop and grow in friendship with these people who are already in the company of our Lord.  Though I wasn’t one of those blessed to call him a personal friend in this life, I know that I can still grow in friendship with him, and come to him for intercession and prayer.  Since he endured such spiritual and physical sufferings, he is a powerful ally to have in this cosmic battle between good and evil that we all face.

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“David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell 

After reading so many books from the perspective of the faith, I wanted to change things up a bit.  My husband Joe read this book a couple of years back and really enjoyed it, so I thought I’d give it a go.

I really liked it!  The book examined the lives of certain underdogs, misfits, and “nobodies” who ended up accomplishing amazing feats in life.  His idea was that those who appeared to have disadvantages, really had many advantages because of the difficulties they had to endure in life.  He showed how the difficulties, pain, and suffering lead people to accomplish great things that they otherwise would never have even thought of if they hadn’t been handed a tough load in life.  He also described how sometimes, what we think to be advantages in life, often turn out to be the things leading us in the wrong direction.  Sometimes it takes someone who offers a different perspective, or shoots from a different angle to make things happen.

Though I thought the book was really good, I couldn’t help but think that something was nonetheless lacking.  In all the author’s talk about great “underdogs” and “disadvantaged” players in history, there was no mention of Jesus.  No matter if you believe in him or not, it is undeniable that the historical Jesus had a profound effect on Western Civilization.  He is one of the greatest examples of someone who defied people’s expectations and challenged the societal norms of his day.  And all of that is just the beginning of the impact he had on man throughout history.

Also, while I thought the book was a good read, the idea that great things can be accomplished through weaknesses, suffering, and disadvantages is nothing new.  In fact, that is God’s m.o.       

It was a good book, but for me, it left something to be desired.

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I am also working through my read-the-bible-in-a-year plan and loving it!  It’s just a few chapters a day and it organizes my scripture making it easier to get through the more difficult books.  Check it out!

My next read is Fulton Sheen’s, The Life of Christ. I am already loving it and looking forward to digging into some more great books!

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Have you read any of these books? What are you reading right now?  What are some of your favorite books?  

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Let’s Talk About “This Is Us”

Every week, since September 20th, I have looked forward to cozying down on my couch after the kids go to bed to watch NBC’s new hit show, This Is Us.  

I’ve always had a longtime love of Milo Ventimiglia (always have been on Team Jess), and have admired Mandy Moore since I was a kid. The fact that they are in the show, as well as the fact that the show is produced by the same people who gave us Parenthood, well…I was intrigued from the beginning. It didn’t take me long to really fall in love with This Is Us and with the characters in it.

There is so much I like about This is Us, but I think the one thing that makes it particularly special is that it’s about life.  It’s about people and the beauty that can be found in the messiness of every day living.

This is Us draws us in by introducing us to typical characters, allowing us to make initial judgments about who they are and the choices we think they will make based on their state in life.  At the same time, This Is Us shows the audience again and again that these characters are much more than they first seem to be; they are complex, and rich characters who cannot be defined merely by their appearance or their present state in life.

(Warning, some spoiler alerts!) We meet Rebecca, a sometimes high-strung and selfish woman, yet we see her time and time again prove to be an incredibly selfless and devoted wife and mother.  The Patriarch, Jack, is a kind and compassionate husband and father, but at times we are shown his weaknesses, such as his struggle with alcoholism.  Despite his struggles, he works hard to remain steadfast for his family. Kate is a woman who struggles with her obesity, self esteem, and depression.  Yet, at the same time, she is beautiful, smart, headstrong, and loyal to her family.  As we get to know her life story, we realize her pains run deep, both physically and spiritually.  Though her inner pains have the ability to get the best of her, she nonetheless continues to work hard towards becoming a better version of herself.   Randall is the one who seems to have it all together: he has the perfect wife and family, and is successful and driven.  However, he often crumbles under the weight of that perfection, and has to learn to slow down and appreciate the little things in life.  Kevin is one of those characters that in real life we’d both love and loathe to be around; pretty to look at, but not a whole lot going on upstairs.  Yet, the beauty of his character is his whole journey towards selflessness.  As we see him progress through the show, we witness him grow; he learns, overtime, what it means to love authentically by dying to self, and as he grows, we begin to see his true depth.  William, the biological father of Randall, is a character who is full of life, but at the same time on the brink of death.  His terminal illness is a constant reminder for his son, as well as for the audience, that life is precious.  Though William is an all around good-humored and kindhearted man, his life was shaped by a few really big mistakes he made.  At one of his lowest points in life, we see him drugged out and abandoning his newborn baby on the step of a fire station.  Yet, as we follow his life story, we come to learn about the pains he endured that led him to those mistakes, and how despite his losses and addiction, he was able die a dignified death, through the power of love.

Through detailed flashback scenes the audience learns that, oftentimes, preconceived notions of who these characters are and what led them to their present state, are not only wrong, but miss the point of personhood altogether: that humans are intricate and complex beings, worthy of dignity and love—no matter their walk in life.  This is Us is a great show because it presents characters who are real; characters who mess up, sin, fall short, and fail.  At the same time, the show exemplifies what it means to grow through these shortcomings, without sacrificing the pain and sorrow they have to go through to get there.

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As the show progresses, I come to appreciate more and more the meaning of “us” in the title of the show.    The “us” in the title of the show points, of course, to the characters in the show, but also to a more profound beauty–one that resonates so deeply in our faith as Christians.  It’s a beauty premised on the great reality of life: that we are all in this together!  From man to wife, sister to brother, parents to children; from the mailman, to even a stranger on the street: ware all in this crazy, chaotic, joyful, painful reality of life…together. I think this show is great because it pushes us beyond our own comfort zones to realize that people–all of us–are frail, weak, and broken.  Though the show is not primarily a faith-based show, by presenting the frailty of humanity–in the family life, in mistakes made, in times of trial and suffering, and even through death–the show is able to exemplify a certain depth of human beauty.  God meets us in our imperfections and in our frailty, and there, he teaches us what it means to love.  We are both dependent and interdependent creatures; all dependent on the love of our God, and all interdependent on the love of each other.

I love this show because it is a great reminder that everyone has a story.  No matter how you encounter someone or what you think they are going through, the reality is that you have no idea what lead them to be who they are today.  Perhaps if you get to know them a bit better–get to know their stories–you may even fall in love with who they are.   As Christians, this is what our faith demands of us! It demands us to recognize that no man is an island and every man is worthy of love.  We are not solitary beings, but rather, we are all deeply connected. 

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I can’t wait for the finale tonight!  The previews always have us guessing one way, but end up throwing us off track.  I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds, especially since, so far, they have been really kind to their audience.  I have a feeling the finale will do justice to Jack’s life, and that his death–no matter how tragic it happens–will come together in the end with meaning and purpose.

Who’s watching???  Comment below with your ideas on what will happen tonight! 

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7 Quick Takes: A Movie, a Storm, and Resting in God

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This past weekend was a pretty lazy one.  Sometimes those are the best, but it definitely requires me to put in the effort of relishing the slow.  I am always go, go, go…looking for the next thing to check off my list.  I think this is what God is calling me to give up this lent.  I feel like he is calling me, not so much to cease working, but to do everything for his glory, to worry less, and to take time to rest in him.

One thing that I have been doing for 3 weeks now is really paying attention to how I spend my Sundays.  Usually, I don’t merely reserve the day for just worship and family, but for tackling a lot of my “to-do” list around the house.  It’s been a nice change of pace to really try and relax, pray, and focus solely on my family on Sundays.  Giving that time to God has shown me, yet again, how truly wise he is.  Resting on Sundays has better prepped me to tackle the rest of the week with love and joy.

The one thing that is a daily source of annoyance and work is laundry.  I never feel like I am on top of it! We’ve already worked really hard at paring down everyone’s wardrobe, but I still find myself bathing in socks and clean underwear on a daily basis.

In an effort to lighten my load during the week, and quit using Sundays as my laundry day, I decided to try something new: I’m doing all of our laundry on Saturday!  My rule is, if I don’t get through it, I don’t touch it until Monday.

This has already lightened my load incredibly because clothes are no longer piling up and we always have what we need, folded and ready to go in our closets.

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This week Father Jim Sichko came to the parish where I teach RCIA for a parish mission.  He was commissioned by Pope Francis to go to parishes all over the country to talk about mercy, the gospel, and Catholicism.  He was really enthusiastic and charismatic, and he did an excellent job of sharing the faith through the context of his funny and heartfelt stories, as well as through song.

My absolute favorite part of his nightly talks was his ability to get the whole church singing!  I mean it, everyone who was there (and there were a lot of people there–the Church was overflowing!) was singing loudly.  Together, the Church felt so very alive and thriving.  Though people mostly sing in Mass, to hear everyone excitedly singing out a lenton hymnal was incredibly beautiful.  It made me tear up, so very proud to be apart of this Church.

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Monday, Joe and I ventured out for a much-needed date. In a thunderstorm. A severe one.  With a tornado warning.

For me, going out in this weather is just crazy talk, but my husband and my 14-year-old babysitter assured me, it’ll be fine! We never see tornadoes around here!

Though the weather was pretty bad, it wasn’t that bad, yet poor Joe had to spend the evening with me twitching and checking my phone every few minutes.  We made the mistake of sitting at the bar, so I had a perfect view of the weather.  At one point, the wind picked up and slammed a chair into a window.  I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest!

In our part of the city, all ended up ok.  We made it safely through our whole date, and by the end of it I was forced to reflect on Matthew 8:24.    I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’s disciples on the boat in the storm.  Most of these men were skilled fishermen, so a storm that would cause them much fear must have been an awful one.  Yet, when Jesus comes out from his slumber, he asks them: Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?

These big storms are big reminders for me to give myself to God with reckless abandon, especially when I am shaking like a leaf in fear.  He is always with us.  We need not worry when he is at our side.

Also, we need not go on dates when the weather’s so bad,  but that is neither here nor there.

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Joe and I saw “Logan” on our date.  It never takes any convincing for me to go to an X-Men movie because I always know I’ll like it.  They are almost always good, or at least always entertaining.

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The one thing that was different with this particular X-Men movie was that it was rated R, which is different from the usual PG-13 rating X-Men movies normally get.  We didn’t think much of this change, especially since the movie got a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Yet, as the preview for the next “Deadpool” movie came on—which was altogether graphic and lewd—I started to realize that Logan was going to be much different than we anticipated.

Though the X-Men movies always include some level of violence, Logan was packed with scene after scene of explicit, realistic depictions of violence.  It was incredibly hard to watch, more or less to stomach.

(Warning: Spoiler Alert!) The movie followed a dark and hopeless Logan, walking through life wishing to accomplish nothing but abandoning himself to obscurity and a life of loneliness.   Early on in the movie he is forced into taking care of a little girl, whom he soon finds out is of his daughter.  Though he doesn’t want to love her (because all of his loved ones end up dead), by the end of it we see Logan learn what it means to love again, even at the cost of his own life.

Not a terrible story line, but it absolutely wasn’t something I enjoyed.  When we walked out of the theater I felt like I had been through the ringer.  I spent half the movie hiding under the veil of my shirt!  There were many moments throughout where I thought, we should just leave, but I never said anything to Joe.  Honestly, though, we should have walked out.  The glorification of graphic violence is not art, and really isn’t entertainment.  As one Catholic reviewer put it, it was nothing more than a “dreary killing fest.”

Next time, at least for rated R movies, we’ll resolve to visit a Catholic Movie Reviews source as opposed to a secular one like Rotten Tomatoes.

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This week we went to the zoo with a friend of ours and her little girl.  It was a really great day!  Noteworthy event: I got attacked by a Gibbon!  Well, sort of.  We were watching the gibbons in their cages, who were especially hyper that day, when all of a sudden one swung towards my back slamming his feet into the window.  I turned around to see this ornery monkey looking straight at me as I let out a scream.  Pretty funny!

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Right after we made good and became friends. 

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Joe went out of town for a few days,  so my bed had been a little colder than usual.  In the morning, Eli likes to wake us up abruptly by knocking on his door saying, “Mommy, I need to go pooottttyyyy,” so I decided to leave his door slightly cracked so he could come in my room whenever he needed.

Well, at 4am, I woke to what I thought was the baby monitor.  When I went to reach for it I found a foot instead!  It took me a second to realize that the noise I had heard was actually my sneaky-ninja son snoring next to me.  How did I not hear him? I don’t know.  But I just rolled over, hugged him fiercely, and went back to sleep thankful that I had him to cuddle.  

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This girl is still cutting her molars.  Poor baby, I can feel how swollen her gums are so I know that’s what is causing all her extra fuss and pain.  She is kind of a wreck at times.  She’ll go from laughing, to fall apart crying in an instance.  She’s had a harder time eating, and some days she is completely inconsolable for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.  All I can do is hold her and caress her little face.

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It kind of reminds me of when she was little.  I sometimes joke that I have a bit of PTSD from her colicky phase, or rather, post traumatic colic disorder—but I really do think that I have some slight form of itWhen she resorts to full on screaming now, I still find myself wanting to recoil, then rushing to give her what she wants because her cries trigger something inside of me.  It’s silly, because she is nothing like she was when she was a newborn, but still, whenever she screams for long periods of times I am automatically taken back.  However, since we got through that awful 5-month phase a long time ago, things really are much easier.  It’s nice that she finds comfort in her mama.  I don’t mind that at all.

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I’ll hold her all day if that’s what helps her feel better. 

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7 Quick Takes: Links, Lent, and Putting on Love

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted a 7QT, but back at it this week, joining Kelly of This Ain’t the Lyceum!

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In honor of World Marriage Day in February, I dedicated a lot of time to writing about marital love.  Here is a link to each of my posts:

What is Marriage?

The Freedom in Living Chastely Before Marriage 

Giving a Complete Gift of Self in Marriage

The Marital Call for Fidelity

The Marital Call for Life-Giving Love Part 1 and Part 2

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We kicked off Lent with Ash Wednesday yesterday.   Though it is a somber time in the Liturgical year, it’s always one of my favorites.  However, Ash Wednesday Mass was a pretty tough one for our family.  Things started out great, but slowly got out of control with constant wiggling from both kids, proceeded by urgent pleas for snacks and milk.  (Have you ever tried to open a snack wrapper in Mass?? So embarrassing!)   After communion, as Mass neared to an end, we had to head to the back of the Church because I had a screaming toddler and sleepy baby on my hand.  (12 pm Mass with kids is not for the faint of heart.)  When we got to the back of the Church, I found myself resolved to letting my toddler cry-it-out while I angrily tried to finish my prayers.  This didn’t last long, though, because my son only grew louder and more inconsolable as time passed, and I knew it wasn’t fair to others trying to pray in the back as well.  As I was getting more upset with him, I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the large entry windows.  I saw the dark ashes on my forehead and thought: what a real way to start off Lent.  I was frustrated and sweaty, having to deal with fussy kids while all I really wanted to do was pray.  I saw those ashes on my head, and heard him say to me, just put on love. 

I realized he didn’t want me there–fresh from receiving his body–dealing angrily with my kids.  He wanted me to take a breath, turn my attention to them in love, and to cease worrying about having everything perfect and all put together.  I think this is a lesson God is trying to teach me through motherhood: to pray by loving, even when it is hard.

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#ashtag “Put on Love”

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Have you decided what you are doing for Lent?  With your help, I put together a list of some ideas for Lenten fasting, praying, and almsgiving. It’s never too late to make the commitment!

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Have you seen this video by Audrey Assad?

I can hardly get through it without crying.  I’ve seen it before, but watching it now makes me realize how applicable it is for lent.  The girl in the video carries the light of Christ with her as she journeys into a wilderness-type setting.  As she encounters demonic forces who try to distract and pull her in different directions, she is able to forge ahead, unaffected by their draw.  As she moves ahead carrying the light of Christ with her, she is able to spread that light, igniting a bonfire that illuminates in the desert.

I think this is what Lent is all about.  It is about journeying into the wilderness of our hearts, to strengthen ourselves with the Holy Spirit and light of Christ.  As we gain strength through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we are able–when Easter comes–to carry his light with us wherever we go, and set the world on fire by putting on his love, inspiring others to do the same.

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This Lent I chose a fast that is a bit different than normal: I chose to fast from staying up late.  I decided for the next 40 days to set an early bedtime and wake up time.  That might sound a bit odd, but I was so touched by what Father Mike Schmitz said in this video:

One of the things about motherhood that I have yet to accept and embrace is how very incarnational it is.  At all times of the day, both my kids want to be all over me.  If we are watching a show, they want to be in my lap.  If I am cooking dinner, they are either clinging to my ankles or crying for me to hold them.  You get the idea–it’s exhausting. 

Since it is so incarnational, by the time their bedtime comes around (no matter how tired I am) I get a second wind. I get to read, write, clean, watch a show…all hands free and individually.  It’s so liberating that I end up staying up way too late–and wake way too grouchily. 

I love what Father says about staying up late, and how it is vanity to not give yourself sufficient time to rest.  In this bad habit, what I am saying to God is: I don’t trust you to provide for me tomorrow.  I don’t trust you to give me the strength, or the love.  

This Lent, I am giving him my time, and so far…it’s been amazing.  I wake rested and ready to tackle the day (and my kids ;).  I think it is a great reminder this lent for me to rest in God and give my worries and anxieties over to him. 

What are you giving up or doing this lent?  Comment below! 

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See, now I can even use their need to be on me as exercise!

Metaphorical “before lent”:

Metaphorical “after lent”:

Joe laughed at me saying, “Honey…that’s not a push up.”  But in my book it counts!  ha

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My friends, that’s all I have for you this Friday morning.  My kids are running amok, as they sense I’m distracted and that my defenses are down.  Cheerios are all over the floor, they are taste testing random candy they are finding (Lucy finally figured out we have chocolate chips in the lazy susan), and I’ve got to go mop up all the spilled milk.  Time to go “put on love”!

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