Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: LENT



A train!

Happy & Real

We had a bit of a scare tonight with our dog. This picture is actually a very intimate moment before she went to the Vet ER. My children thought they were saying goodbye to her. She is all better now and we are very happy. I love the look on my baby's face.

Hope you are having a good evening! PHFR

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday

“Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near,” (James 5:8).

How does one strengthen a heart?

How does a mother strengthen her heart?

Something to ponder...

SO! We celebrated Fat Tuesday yesterday and believe me, no junk food was spared!

I was a monster most of the day to the kids and so I was so happy to have an excuse like Fat Tuesday to be extra generous with food and kind of flip a switch from angry mommy to "let's celebrate liturgical life" mommy.

During supper my eldest asked me what Lent was kind of FOR again...I had actually started to say something about the symbolism behind the ashes and I think I even threw the word mortality in.

She looked at me with her sky blue eyes and I could see with my own eyes that I was not getting to the ESSENTIAL.

What is LENT?

It came to me! I told her:

Lent is our journey to Easter. Lent is our journey to the Resurrection.

King Cake?

I need the Resurrection in my life right now in a way I have never experienced before. This need is not another Alaska to Virginia move need, it is a restlessness I have for that good news, for that hope.

I will not go through the litany of things I will or will not do during Lent, I have more private writing spaces, but I WILL say that it is a deep desire of mine to try and walk 40 days on here with you. 

God Bless you on your journey to the Resurrection. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Being Credit Conscious

Yesterday evening before our Candlemas meal (The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord),

my four year old son was looking around for a particular toy.

In Richmond
One of the many hats I wear in motherhood is the Knower of Where Things Are hat. I wear it quite often, I am most proficient at where things are in the fridge, but it applies to MANY things. Shoes, hairbrushes and the other evening one toy out know...way to many.

So he said "Mama, have you seen my ribbon thing?"

I said, "Ummm...I think its over on the counter there."


He went in search of his lost treasure toward the kitchen counter and he then called out, "Oh I found my ribbon thing!"

I was nursing the baby and I thought about calling after him, "Actually, I found it buddy! I told you where to look!?!"

But I didn't. I remained silent, pleased that he had found what he was searching for, that he could be a child and be in the present moment and enjoy his toy and be happy.

I liked giving him the feeling that he had found it. I liked giving him credit for the find.

And then...I was thinking about grace and blessings and gifts...from Him.

So much of my spiritual journey has been about rubbing the sleep away from my eyes and seeing how God is giving gifts always.

God's gift of the grace of the Church's teaching on openness to life has been a life giving blessing to my marriage.

When I was struggling with finding the truth about my own marriage and its true purpose, I was searching for answers in books and by talking to priests and Catholic doctors and God fearing friends. I searched and searched and the whole time I was searching,  I thought that I had found these people. I had found the books. I had found the Church doctrine. I had scheduled the confession or appointment. I had invited the friend to coffee.

Maybe that was four year old Stephanie looking for her ribbon thing and a bit pleased with herself when she found it.

Now I am five year old Stephanie and I am soaking up this goodness...

and I have the lightbulb (click!) go off in my head and a grateful song in my heart. The Holy Spirit was so gentle in guiding me to the truth I was looking for. All the books, doctrine, people, moments were not because I found them, but because they found me. God had put them there!

I must give credit to where and Whom it is due.

Simeon and Anna longed and longed for the Messiah of the Lord.  A young couple comes to the Temple with a small basket and two turtle doves and a baby boy. The Messiah is placed in Simeon's arms. All gift!

I pray we can see in this morning, in this day, the gifts that He sprinkles and puts in our waiting arms. That we can praise Him with joyful hearts and that we can be aware of His presence.

I pray we have a confidence in Him that even if we are not giving Him credit all the time, He is happy because we are his beloved children and He wants us to have our ribbon things.

God Bless!