Monday, April 28, 2014

Parenting Books

Samantha Bell interviewed me for a parenting blog hop about the books that helped me become a better parent so here are my picks! As you can see, I also took a trip down memory lane.
There are so many books that have helped me become a better parent, so it’s hard to choose just one.

When our children were little, we read a lot of books together. One of our favorite series were the OLIVER AND AMANDA PIG books written by Jean van Leeuwen and illustrated by Anna Schweninger. The stories mirrored our life together, cooking, cleaning, gardening, playing, and resolving conflicts. I learned so much from Mama Pig! When I accidentally stepped on a toy car in the kitchen and landed on my backside, I remembered how Mama Pig controlled her anger when she slipped on the wet bathroom floor. She joined in the soapy fun. Later, they all mopped and dried off the floor. Likewise, after a good laugh, we all picked up the toys.
Over and over, the depictions of simple family life reinforced my desire for simplicity and the value of cherishing all the small moments. I learned from Mama Pig to be patient as we baked bread together, flour dusting the entire kitchen. I learned to spend time throwing rocks in the pond for the fun of hearing the plop and watching the ripples. I learned to hug harder and more frequently. Mama Pig *showed* me how to be a mother who was firm, yet gentle, hard-working, yet fun, in control, without being overbearing.

As the children grew and parenting became more challenging, we turned to Christ. The Bible has many passages on raising Godly children. The books we have found most helpful in this regard are BE A MAN! by Fr. Larry Richards and ADVICE FOR SUCCESSFUL FAMILIES by Fr. Alain Dalagneau. We have read and discussed these books with our teenaged children and I am thankful they are growing up to know, to love, and to serve God.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

Even as the Holy Sacrifice of Mass was being offered at Stella Maris for our intentions this morning, we walked in our Sunday best to Bishop England for the inaugural Mass of South Carolina's newest parish: St. Clare of Assisi. What joy!!! I have dreamed and prayed along with others for this very thing. One very energetic woman, Betsy, started the Good Shepherd Club to form a Catholic community on Daniel Island since we are spread across eight parishes. I don't even know how we met anymore, but it's been amazing to watch our community grow, and our prayers answered so quickly. We are so very blessed to have Fr. West. He is a native, a son of Stella Maris. Here is just one news story about our newest parish. And another.

I love that our Catholic family is growing. It amazes me that the foundation of our faith rests on an event that took place two thousand years ago, the death and resurrection of Jesus.  

I believe and this is why Jesus is Lord of my life. Happy Easter to all!

I leave you with a song we sang on Good Friday, Elizabeth Poston's Jesus Christ the Apple Tree.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

Crucifixion by Matthias Grunewald (c. 1475-1528)

The artist captures the horror, agony, and desolation of this painting. I want to turn away from the twisted hands and feet, yet I cannot look away. O agony and dying ...

O Sacred Head Sore Wounded

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Donkey

Our priest shared this poem by G. K. Chesterton in the newsletter for Palm Sunday.

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

Five years ago, my family was received into the Catholic Church. I remember everything with the greatest clarity. On Palm Sunday, after reading through the Passion, those of us who were preparing to enter the Church were dismissed for prayer and reflection. We blithely say, "He suffered and died for us." But the enormity, the sheer incomprehensibility of all this hit me in the stomach. I saw myself in all the characters of the Passiontide. I was Peter. I was the woman who accused Peter. I was Judas. I was Caiphas. I was Pilate. I was the crowd, singing Hosanna one moment and "crucify Him" the next. I did not feel worthy. I still don't but my Lord has given me His Body and poured out His Precious Blood for me. Oh, how it makes me want to be good and still, I don't do the good that I want to, but do the bad things I don't want to. St. Paul speaks of this in his letter to the Romans. And so it gives me courage to go on, by His grace, becoming the person God created me to be. Thank God He never stopped loving me, never stopped gazing upon me, never stopped calling me home.

All ye angels and saints, pray for us to the Lord our God. Wishing you all a most blessed Holy Week.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Rich Gift of Love is Spurned

Please say a prayer for Sister Jane.
 May she not be persecuted for speaking the truth.
Several weeks ago, we had the great pleasure of attending a lecture on Masculinity and Femininity: Difference and Gift by Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, a professor of theology at Aquinas College. My husband has been studying the Theology of the Body, the series of Wednesday homilies given by Blessed Pope John Paul II. I found the book rather dense and instead studied the more accessible writings of Christopher West, and here comes Sister Jane with an online course presented by Aquinas College. It has been a great gift to us because the more we understand how and why we are made, the better we can share and discuss this knowledge with our children.

Sister Jane's lecture sparked much discussion at home about what it means to be male and female, about being created in His image, about women being the stitchers of standards, about men called to love and protect, about how Satan attacks, and much, much more.

So imagine my surprise and dismay when there was news of a group of parents and students at a Catholic school in NC being upset. Their feelings were hurt because they perceived the lecture to be anti-gay and anti-divorce. Whoa! Judge for yourself. Watch the online course with your families and teenaged children. It is broken up into 20-min segments so any family can fit this into their busy life. What you will see is a clear presentation of Catholic doctrine. Imagine learning Catholic doctrine at a Catholic school! We are always told to hate the sin, but love the sinner.

Alas, in today's climate, sin is a figment of the imagination. However, you are immediately labeled a bigot if you disapprove of same-sex marriage. The sexual revolution opened the door to premarital sex, extramarital sex, abortion, divorce, and breakdown of the family. I didn't think there was anything else left, but destroying the distinction between men and women is the last step towards destroying any sense of who we are. Human. Male and female. Created in the image of God.

Michelangelo's Creation of Adam

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Very Rational Argument Against Abortion Delivered by a Child

My sister, who volunteers at Agape, a Crisis Pregnancy Center, just sent me this video. What an articulate child! I think whether or not children know the mechanics of abortion, they instinctively know how wrong it is to kill a child. They are powerless and vulnerable, and much closer to babies than what we can imagine. I believe they are missing their brothers, sisters, classmates, spouses, and the children and grandchildren who will never live on this earth.

I especially liked her thoughts on rights and responsibilities as well as the last quote by Horton.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Conference Tidbits and Inspiration

One of the drawbacks of teaching at a conference is that you miss all the other lectures. However, I did have the pleasure of listening to these inspiring keynotes.

Torry Martin is a funny guy. Until this weekend I didn't know who he was since I'm that out of the loop with TV and popular culture. His faith journey is tied to his career, and now he is writing sketches based upon a character much like him: distracted, awkward, crazy, gullible. He said, "Wow! I was given four compliments in just one sentence!" The best humor cuts close to being vulnerable.

His talk is giving me the courage to write a book an editor has asked me to write. I can't say anything more ...

Something he said that really resonated: Our God is BIG! Let Him use you in the way He wants. Also, don't let your past stop you from doing what God is calling you to do. Step out in faith. Trust in God.

Every detail in your life has a purpose. God made you the way you are for a purpose. Dedicate your gift to the Lord.

Bill Reeves
Bill Reeves spoke about dreams, how God puts dreams upon our hearts. He was just 15 years old when he knew that God was calling him to get engaged in the culture through entertainment and bring Christ to people through the media. It's never too early and never too late to say yes.

I heard a lot of AMENS!!!

He warned about being careful of dreams, to not be deceived into thinking something is God's plan when you are only satisfying your own selfish desires.

Amen!!! Here is a wonderful article on the six principles of discernment.

The best part was spending some time with old friends and getting to make new ones. Here's my room-mate Kim Peterson with Nancy Lohr, editor at Journey Forth Books.