Thursday, March 30, 2017

Half way through Lent, and I need a re-do...

This post if half confession, half mission of mercy for those of you who also might need a redo on Lent.

Apparently I suck at Lent, and self sacrifice.  (And here I thought I was super good at all that stuff.)

I have pretty much cheated or failed at EVERY single one of my lenten sacrifices, and some of those cheats have been EXCESSIVE.   Whoops.

I will give you an example:  I was going to try to go all of lent without purchasing any un-necessary item for myself.  I didn't think this one would be a stumbling block, because I feel like I go MONTHS on end without the time or desire to purchase new items for myself.  BUT some demon overcame me during spring break a few weeks ago, and I ended up purchasing on-line two rugs, three shirts, a dress, a bathing suit, and a book.  ALL IN ONE WEEK.  What the??!?!

How does that happen?   I will admit I am wearing one of the shirts now, and I LOVE IT!!! (Oh goodness that is not helping.)

NO really.  Why does it seem like things are not that important, until you suddenly try and go without them, and then it is like they CONTROL you??!?  Like you can't possibly live without them? LIKE YOU ARE GOING TO DIE UNLESS YOU HAVE IT RIGHT NOW?!?!

Does anyone else feel like they get sucked into desire like that???

What can I do about it???    (Please don't answer that. I don't want to return all the items.)  Great; now I feel totally convicted.

Can I just have a redo?

Can I start fresh?

Can I wipe this Lenten Slate completely clean?

That is the AMAZING thing about God.  His answer is always YES.  I can have a redo.  I can have a redo at Lent, and at every other area of my life where I have failed.  So can you.  We can have redos at loving our spouses, we can have redos at loving our kids, we can have redos at loving our friends, and we can have redos at loving our extended family.  

God will even provide the Grace to ask for redos FROM THEM if necessary.  (Which it almost always is.)

But with that, God also is asking me to let others in my life have redos.   He is reminding me, that I need to offer redos to my family, and friends just as he has given me a redo.

SO who are the people in my life that I need to start fresh with?  Who are the people that I need to wipe the slate completely clean? Who are the people I need to forgive, let go of all the past failures, and begin again?

I would even go so far as to suggest that you go experience the sacrament of Reconciliation.  Even non-Catholics talk about the necessity of confessing your sins to another person.  In our Catholic faith, we have the opportunity built right in to our Tradition.   Nothing beats hearing a priest, (Who is basically a stand-in for Christ, during reconciliation) say,  "I absolve you from your sins!"

WHOOHHHOOOOO!!!  FREEDOM!!!  (Imagine yourself skipping and dancing out of the church!)

Powerful stuff.  Seriously, can you believe God just showed me all that, through an on-line shopping binge???

Thanks GOD!!!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Why having 5 kids can actually be cheaper than you think...

Spring break for my kids' school is next week, and we are looking forward to a nice relaxing "staycation" at home.  

I actually wanted to take them somewhere fun, but a lot of the options were just too expensive.  It costs so much money to fly a family of seven anywhere.  We can no longer stay in one hotel room at most hotels, and admissions to most places can get obscene when you have to pay for 7 individuals.

As this week was coming to a close, I started to feel around for who was going to be in town next week for playdates.  I discovered, unfortunately that many of our friends are going skiing, or to the beach, or on some lovely sounding tourist destination.  We are not.  

That is when it hit me.   I actually save a lot of money because I have too many kids.  I just can't afford a lot of things. 

Thank God, for instance that I don't have only two kids.   Honestly, the four of us (Husband and I included) would be jet setting out of town every southwest-airlines saver email I get.  This would cost us thousands of dollars a year, I'm sure. Thank God, I don't only have two kids.

Even if I had only three kids, we could still squeeze comfortably in ONE hotel room with a simple rollaway.  I would be testing every hotel breakfast bar, and swimming pool in Orlando if we only had three kids!  That wouldn't be free you know?!? Thank God, I don't only have three kids. 

Honestly even if I only had four kids, I would probably skip out on making dinner multiple times a week to eat out. You know a lot of these "Kids Eat Free" deals involve two kids free - per adult meal purchased.  Perfectly designed for a large family of six.  I could see myself doing that often.  Thank God we have have more than four kids.

BUT FIVE KIDS?!?!?!  FIVE KIDS??  WE BARELY EVER GO OUT OF THE HOUSE with five kids - it is just too expensive.

SO I laugh at all you people who believe that you CAN'T AFFORD to have more kids!  

I can't afford to have LESS!!!

Surely, their tuition bills add up, and they do participate in a lot of activities that aren't cheap.  But compared to my potential for spending on travel,  sleeping in hotels, and eating out at restaurants, believe me we are saving money!

At least that is how I am going to choose to see it.  Wink, Wink.

Thanking God for my beautiful, cheap, family.

Disclosure*  This is a Joke, and only intended to make myself feel better.  Not meant to offend anyone with less kids.

Friday, March 10, 2017

A little lesson in Humilty and a few other things...

Last week I coordinated and led a retreat for our Seniors at the school I work at.  It was really a team effort and we sort of divided and conquered the different activities.

These are senior GIRLS, so we sort of expect their maturity level to be a little on the higher side.  For many of them this is completely true.  There are a number AMAZING young women in this group of 110 eighteen year olds, and there is no doubt in my mind that these individuals will grow into compassionate, kind, fun, sincere, faith-filled adults!

But unfortunately some of them are not adept at the "adult like" stuff.

The theme for the retreat was "Exploring the Journey Inward" and we were inviting these girls to get to know themselves and GOD better, before they leave for college.  I was on such a high after the retreat and I felt good about the activities and the talks that were presented.  It seemed like many of them enjoyed some aspects of the retreat, and got the message.  But then today I discovered that the overwhelming majority didn't like it, and didn't want to hear it.

OUCH.  That sort of hurt.

EPIC FAIL by me.  

Maybe I needed that lesson in humility though.  Maybe I needed that little reality check that sharing God's love is not always going to be received graciously.  Maybe I needed to realize that even JESUS himself was rejected by people, and maybe this was sort of what he felt like.

Now some of the critiques the Seniors offered are legitimate and can easily be received to improve next year's experience for those Seniors.  But some of the comments were just down right depressing.

Without being specific many said they thought there was too much "God" and not enough bonding with each other.   That just sort of made me sad.  I didn't think "too much God" was possible.  I can't get enough of him myself.

Anyway, I don't mean to sound deflated, sad, or depressed.  I realize that I will never be able to PLEASE everyone, and although we are already working on some things we can do to make it more fun, or more appealing, taking GOD out of the retreat is not going to happen.

I do believe that many of these girls haven't really had the best faith foundation.  Many are coming from families who might be Catholic in name, but not necessarily practicing their faith.  Some are coming from families who don't have any faith life at home at all.  We need to pray for these girls.

My real prayer however, is that a seed was planted.  Maybe they didn't get it last week.  Maybe even thought they think it was a waste of their time, maybe it wasn't.  Maybe someday they will experience something, and it will take them back to last week.  Maybe something one of us told them will give them a glimmer of hope that good things can come from knowing God.  That's a lot of Maybes.  But Maybe.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lessons on Love from the Movie Frozen...

I know this sounds random, but as of mom of three girls, I have only watched the movie "Frozen" about 33 times.  The most recent time being right now. (It is literally on my TV right this second.)

I am so impressed with the underlying theme of LOVE that this movie preaches, and I wonder if anyone else is as surprised as I am about how much TRUTH this insanely popular kids movie teaches about TRUE LOVE.

Here are five powerful insights that I have gleaned from this secular movie.

1. Sometimes when people shut you out, it is not because of something YOU did.  It is because of something they did.  This was a big realization for me.  I tend to take it personally when people shut me out, and instead of just loving them away, I shut them out.  This usually only makes things worse.

2.  Fear is powerful and really really really bad.  Fear can make people do crazy, desperate things.  Fear is what isolates people from everything they really need: LOVE.

3. "People make bad choices when their scared, or tired or stressed, but throw a little love their way, and you'll bring out their best."  The trolls get it, why don't we???  Forgive people for their bad choices and love them through it.  It will make the bad go away. Wow, I hope my 3 year old is getting that message through this movie.

4.  LOVE is about sacrifice.  I love that this movie preaches this message throughout the whole movie.  True Love isn't a romantic smoochy love, it is SACRIFICIAL.   Olaf even defines LOVE as "Putting someone else's needs before their own."   The sacrifice that Anna makes for her sister, is ultimately what saves the whole movie.

5.  In the end, this sort of Sacrificial LOVE wins.  Love will always win.  If you are brave enough to LOVE, it will always overcome EVERYTHING.  Love is is truly a supernatural power, and we ALL have the power to do it.

ALL this from a super popular secular movie about a very cold Disney people!!   I mean does this surprise or shock anyone???   It just proves to me that there is still good honest, movie makers out there, who can find a way to teach truth in a entertaining and honest way.

God had to be behind this!!!