"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A beautiful gift (and how I'm stubborn)

You ever feel like God keeps telling you the same thing over and over again, just in different ways? Like He's constantly nudging you to do something?

That happens to me a lot. (I guess I'm stubborn.) Right now I feel like He keeps wanting me to spend more time with Scripture.

Last year, I started praying the Liturgy of the Hours, just Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. And somehow I stopped doing that, even though I really liked it - probably because I really wanted to focus on a daily Rosary and thought that somehow I couldn't do both.

I know it's called Liturgy of the HOURS but really, each hour takes maybe 10 minutes (Night Prayer is even shorter). So once I realized I really had no excuse, I started praying Morning Prayer again a few months ago. My intention was to add Evening Prayer, but I ended up adding Night Prayer first because it's shorter and the most pleasant way to end the day.

Hopefully I'll manage to throw Evening Prayer back in there, and maybe occasionally some of the other Hours and the Office of Readings, but for now I just have to say that praying the Psalms (which the Liturgy of the Hours is mostly comprised of), as well as the other readings, is really making me appreciate Scripture more. So much, in fact, that I've been feeling those gentle nudges from God to bust out my Bible more often - because sadly, it doesn't happen too much anymore.

And then because I am stubborn, I keep getting the same message in things I read. First, it was in Colleen C. Mitchell's book Who Does He Say You Are? Colleen talks about how she's gone through several Bibles in her lifetime because they all became worn from use. What she writes in her Afterword about her thirst for God's Word is just really beautiful. (Seriously, y'all...read this book.)

Then today in the Blessed Is She's Advent journal, Elizabeth Foss writes: "If we want to get to Christmas without falling over in a great, sorrowful heap, we need to cultivate the habit of opening our Bibles."

YES. So, I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to cultivate this habit, other than making sure my Bible is right where I can see it, easily accessible to open whenever I have a spare minute or two. But what I do know is that Scripture should always be what we come back to and that we should remember (I'm preaching to myself here most of all) that it's such a beautiful gift given to us by God Himself. Let's not waste it.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Advent randomness

I totally wrote a [different] post about alllll our plans for Advent and then I realized that is a great way to get overwhelmed. And that's not what Advent is about. So while we definitely have our Advent wreath set up, as well as our Jesse Tree, I'm not going to stress about it (as well as all the other things on our list). We'll do our best when it comes to all the Advent things, but making ourselves feel defeated and guilty when life happens is probably what the devil wants. (He can suck it, by the way.)

So! Things you might not know:

  • Logan does 100% of the Christmas decorating around here. Not kidding.
  • He has already finished all of the decorating, inside and out, with the exception of ornaments on our tree - which we will do on St. Nicholas Day.
  • I'm the world's worst wrapper of presents. But I don't care because 80% of ours are already wrapped and under our tree. (And most of the rest are being shipped to us as we speak!) 
  • Logan is a bit obsessive about his decorations. Okay, that's an understatement...he's super obsessive. But he's SO GOOD at it that I can't be too annoyed.
  • I'd much rather save all the Christmas fun for the actual Christmas season (December 25th - January 6th), but Logan does not. So we compromise. I'm slowly converting him, though. 
  • We do love to throw in a couple of super fun days amidst the Advent waiting. Our 2 big days are St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) and Gaudete Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent, which will be December 11th this year). Logan just so happens to be off work for both of them this year because Jesus loves me.
 My sister bought this inflatable for Logan for Christmas last year and he was dying to put it up this year. When I walked outside, he exclaimed, "THIS THING IS AMAZING!" He's so special. (But I still love you, babe!)

So. Advent. In case you're all "What? It's Advent already?" Take a deep breath; it'll be okay! Here are 3 things you could do if you haven't yet thought about the whole prayer/spiritual aspect of it yet:
  1. Blessed Is She Advent Journal. This is what I'm doing this year and I know I'm going to love it, just after one day. I've been slacking off on my personal journaling lately (mainly because of a baby who likes to be held alllll the time), so this is a perfect excuse to get back into the rhythm. If you were too late to buy a print copy, don't worry, you can download a digital copy here ($15).
  2. Pray More Advent Retreat by John-Paul and Annie of PrayMoreNovenas.com.  It's an online retreat with videos, transcripts, and study guides. Some of them look really good! You can pay however much you want, but if you can't pay, you can still join.
  3. Advent boot camp by Meg at Held By His Pierced Hands. She has a guide for prayer time each day. If I hadn't already committed to the BIS journal, I would totally be doing this. (It's free!)
While it's tempting to want to do all of these things and then some, I'm keeping my expectations super low and sticking with just the journal for now. The important thing is just to do something, whether or not it's any of the above, and to prepare our hearts not only for baby Jesus, but for when Jesus comes again too. Mary at Better than Eden has a great post about "punching the devil in the face this Advent", so to speak, so go read it!

I will leave you with a sleeping baby pic because somehow that seems appropriate. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

What I'm loving (and not)

Love: all the things Landon is learning at preschool! He can write his name and is always asking how to spell other people's names so he can write those too. And now he will spend hours coloring and doing artsy things.

Don't love: thinking about what we're doing next year for kindergarten. Public school, private school, homeschool? I DON'T KNOW. SOMEONE DECIDE FOR ME. Just kidding. Just pray we make the right decision please. :)

Love: our Christmas cards! I was totally feeling proud of myself for having them done before Advent started. Logan keeps getting mad at me for showing people before we actually mail them out, but like I said...totally proud over here. Toot toot.

Don't love: how our printer is not working so I cannot print address labels for said Christmas cards. I have computer files with address labels both for birthday party invitations and Christmas cards which makes mailing things out SUPER EASY (and possible me super nerdy). But I can't put easy peasy labels on envelopes when MY PRINTER WON'T WORK. It's okay, though. I'll manage. First world problems and all.
UPDATE: I was about to publish this post when Logan informed me the printer is now working! Yay! Cards coming to a mailbox near you. (I'll wait until Advent though, promise.)

Love: how I'm finally having a pleasant breastfeeding experience. I still can't believe it sometimes actually. In a way, I'm thankful for the last 2 times not going so well because I can appreciate this time around soooo much more. Funny how that works.

Don't love: that I realized me eating dairy makes Aaron not a happy baby. I can manage without milk (except that that also includes ice cream, wahhh), but cheese? Sigh. You don't realize how much you eat something until you can't have it.

Love: this goofy kid and his dimples.

Don't love: how he throws EVERYTHING on the ground, makes such a mess every time he eats (no matter what it is), and that I feel like I won't ever catch up on housework because he is a destroyer of all things. Two year olds are fun.

Love: how Logan surprised me with a bath tub of piping hot water (seriously, there was steam!) and a glass of wine after I had the worst weekend with the kids while he was at work.

Don't love: how said bath lasted less than 10 minutes because a certain baby would not stop screaming for his momma. A million brownie points for effort, babe.

And I will end with one last love, on a positive note: Colleen C. Mitchell's book, Who Does He Say You Are? Every woman should read this. For reals. It will be one I read over and over, I'm sure. I've highlighted a bunch (via Kindle) and here's one...
"If we will set our hearts on the discipline of prayer and give up the things that keep us from living wholly dependent on him, we will see God in action, recognize him at work, and have the courage to go out and proclaim his presence with great rejoicing."

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Recent Reads {November '16 edition}

I haven't done one of these posts since August, thanks to my little break, and I've read 13 books since then soooo obviously I won't bore you with a snippet from every single one of those. Just 7! The ones I liked the most, of course. Linking up with Kelly for 7QT!

1. The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours by Daria Sockey

Last year I basically taught myself how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and I was totally kicking myself after reading this because it covers everything. If you're interested at all in learning more about the Liturgy of the Hours or wanting to try something new in your prayer life, this is the book for you.

2. The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

I'm having a hard time explaining how I feel about this one because it was such an usual story line but I really enjoyed it. I love the old woman (seriously, she's old...104). It seems like the new thing is to write about the most unlikely friendships, and this definitely falls into that category. Kind of reminds me of A Man Called Ove, which I also liked.

3. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

Merton was an atheist and converted to Catholicism and then became a monk! So this is his story. The first part of the book was a little hard to get through, but once he converted, I was hooked. He has such awesome insights and an interesting life story.

4. The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia SanmartĂ­n Fenollera

I kept hearing about this one and I kind of hate when that happens because it makes my expectations super high and I'm often left slightly disappointed. BUT I did really enjoy this one and totally want to live in San Ireneo. It is a little quirky, but in a good way - you can't help but like the characters and community. I wasn't a fan of the ending even though I totally understand why it ends like that...I just still didn't like it. But I did like the book!

5. Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

I kind of wish I had read this earlier in my parenting years but I suppose better late than never. It starts with decluttering and goes from there, just to give you an idea! Some of this I was already doing but it just really reinforced what changes I want to make in our life and how I want to proceed as our kids get older. Definitely recommend if you're trying to simplify!

6. Trusting God with St. Therese by Connie Rossini

This was kind of part memoir, part spiritual read - two of my faves! And I love St. Therese and loved learning more about her childhood. It gives me hope that my crazy children just might become saints one day. (You can borrow this ebook if you have Amazon Prime, FYI.)

7. Catholic Mom Challenge by Sterling Jaquith

The premise of this kind of reminds me of A Mother's Rule of Life, except it's much more relevant to this age of social media and more appealing (although I really do love A Mother's Rule of Life too). Sterling shares some personal stuff, which keeps it real...and she's pretty funny. If you're trying to pray more, get your priorities straight, and just need a little guidance, I recommend this book! I didn't even create my own "manifesto" when I finished reading but so much of it was very helpful and encouraging. (You can also borrow this ebook if you have Amazon Prime, FYI, although it's probably a book you will want to have.)

Okay, so there's actually a few more I really want to mention so I'll have to include those in next month's post. Sorry if you don't like these. But you're welcome if you do. ;) 

Have you read anything good lately? I'm always looking for a new read!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Kiddos, costumes, and Thomas Merton (7QT)

Just jumping right back in here with some quick takes. Thanks to Kelly for hosting!

1. This is SUCH a sweet baby. Aaron Double-Chin Joseph is also our biggest, hanging out at the 75th percentile for weight. He went through this ridiculous phase of not sleeping and screaming at me all of the time, but it has gotten better (probably because I switched to decaf coffee, wahhhh)....although sometimes he still won't sleep unless I'm holding him or nursing him. Buuuuut he's adorable so there's that.

2. Chase is still going through the ridiculous 2-year old phase of screaming at me (do you sense a theme here?), but he has started to say sorry afterwards AND give me a hug so I guess I can't be too mad. Chase Eats-a-lot Michael is literally a bottomless pit and a sneaky stealer of cookies. He's also realllllly into Aaron these days, constantly petting him or giving him hugs and kisses. They're going to grow up being good buddies, I just know it!

3. Landon started preschool away from home! Last year I just really wasn't ready to send him but this year I TOTALLY was. And while it's certainly been an adjustment getting out of the house 5 days a week, my little sanguine/choleric (AKA major extrovert) is absolutely loving it.

4. We've never really done Halloween (but it's okay if you do! No judgment here), but Logan's parents treated us (see what I did there?) to this event at our zoo a few weeks ago. So we dressed up and Logan did his creative thing with our wagon and it was fun. (Logan was Hook, I was Izzy and nope, not showing you a picture, sorry. I hate dressing up!) Cubby is Chase's twin, by the way. Ha.

And then our church had a fun family day (kind of an early All Saints Day thing) and we threw together these St. Gerard costumes at the very last minute! Mainly because Logan's schedule was a little ridiculous leading up to it and 3 kids are kicking my butt right now. #keepingitreal
Plus there was a trunk or treat (no scary stuff though! just how I like it) and Logan yet again did his thing on our van which took him a whopping' 10-20 minutes the day before using things we already had - i.e. Christmas decorations. (Aaron is just snoozing away otherwise I would have turned him around.)

 Just goes to show you don't have to be super fancy and spend a lot of money!

5. We also hit up the pumpkin patch for our annual trip and Aaron was having quite the fussy day but it was still fun. We went in the afternoon since Landon has school in the morning, and it was not crowded at all and the weather was perfect. Perfect, I tell you.
Self timer, yo. Aaron is always sleeping in our family pictures! (But let me assure you that he has become a cat-napper just like Landon was. Sigh.)

6. I have to say that the thing I missed most during my break of most things Internet was this here blog. And I really mean that. But man, I also realized how much time I spent blogging before! So while I'm definitely not giving it up, I probably will be posting less for the most part. I don't know why I had it in my head that I needed to post a couple times every single week! I really do appreciate all of you reading. :)

7. I'm still reading a ridiculous amount of books (future post probably!) and I finally read one by Thomas Merton. I will end with a quote I loved from his book The Seven Storey Mountain:
When the Spirit of God finds a soul in which He can work, He uses that soul for any number of purposes: opens out before its eyes a hundred new directions, multiplying its works and its opportunities for the apostolate almost beyond belief and certainly far beyond the ordinary strength of a human being.” -Thomas Merton
I could probably write 5 more takes which is crazy but I guess it's good to be cut off at 7. Don't forget to check out everyone else's posts!


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