8 Ways to Nurture Your Relationship

Don’t ever underestimate the influence you have in your little world, starting with your husband!

picture111

From 100 Ways To Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson

  1. Share interests together.

As many as possible. See how you can join him in his hobbies and invite him to share in yours. Even if you don’t both enjoy the same things, at the very least you can be interested and enthusiastic about what interests him. And then look for activities that you can both learn to enjoy together as well. Start something new if you have to.

2. Laugh at his jokes.

Yes, even if you’ve heard them before. Laugh because it’s funny and laugh because it’s healing.

3. Remember the one you fell in love with.

Don’t let him get lost in the dailiness of life. And if it seems that you’ve become distracted and weighed down, take some time off to renew your love for each other. Take a holiday. Slow down. Or simply remind yourself that he is the one you love.

4. Fix his favorite foods.

You know what they say about the way to a man’s heart….

5. Listen sympathetically to his day.

Sometimes being a friend means simply caring about the little things – and the big things – that go in his world. Put aside time and make it a priority to hear about what goes on with him. It’s one of those little connecting points that add up over time.

6. Put your love for God first.

The most loving thing you can do for your husband is to invest in your relationship with your God above all.

7. Reach out and touch.

A tender touch can do so much good – for you both. Even when things aren’t going too well, sometimes this one simple, but loving gesture can soften spirits and ease the tension.

8. Remember you are a powerful influence in his life.

Women of influence. That’s what was featured on the cover of the magazine. The fifty faces of women who’ve been recognized as having significant influence. A truly impressive collection.

So I don’t know why it had this effect on me, but I looked at those 50 women and immediately felt small. Inconsequential. Unknown. A nobody. Because, of course, my picture will never be on the front of that magazine. Not that I’ve ever aspired to such a place. But still… I was somehow struck by my insignificance.

I know it’s not right – or even reasonable – for me to think this way. Yet it managed to stir up so many of my insecurities and self-doubts that I began questioning whether I’d do anything meaningful with my life. Ever.

After all, who am I? No one really.

The dark, defeating doubts swirled around as I brewed a fresh pot of coffee for my husband and continued with me as I trudged up the stairs to his home office. I poured him a cup and then began pouring out my pitiful-me thoughts before him. Poor meaningless me.

I jabbered on and on about how I never amounted to much and probably never would….When suddenly and unexpectedly my pity-party came to a complete stop. I realized that my husband wasn’t paying the least attention to me. He wasn’t really listening at all, but smiling at something in front of him.

What? What was distracting him? Then I saw it. Right smack in the middle of his desk sat a nicely framed photograph of his beloved wife. Yes, that would be me. Nobody else. Not one single photo of the Fifty Women of Influence was placed before him. Just little, simple, wifey me.

And then came the moment of revelation: I am a woman of influence. Tremendous influence. You see, it’s my face that’s featured on the cover of his life. Because amazingly enough, the Lord has chosen this woman to be that man’s wife. Which means it’s me – and only me – who completes him.

Who recognizes his strengths.

Who balances out his weaknesses.

Who builds him up.

Who understands him like no one else.

Who encourages him when he’s down or discouraged.

Who sleeps by his side at night.

Who stands behind him.

Who brings out the best in him.

Who loves him for who he is.

It had never occurred to me before, but I’m becoming a woman of great influence.

But you know what else? So are you. You also are a woman of consequence and have a powerful role to play in your husband’s life.

You are the most influential woman in his world. And to my way of thinking, that is one of the highest honors and privilege a woman can hold.

So it looks like I am significant – even if it’s only in the eyes of one man.

Yet it’s the one man who matters most in my life.

My photograph is placed prominently where all the world can see it. Or better yet – where he can see it.

A powerful woman of influence.

1644961

******************************************************************

untitled

“Cultivate kindness of heart; think well of your fellow-men; look with charity upon the shortcomings in their lives; do a good turn for them, as opportunity offers; and, finally, don’t forget the kind word at the right time. How much such a word of kindness, encouragement, of appreciation means to others sometimes, and how little it costs us to give it!” -J.R. MIller

15380857_610874535781227_161638155578282105_n

*******************************************************************

It’s not too late to jump in with this Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal! You can order the book here or you can download and print the e-book here! Come, join us on this wonderful walk through Advent!

 

Advent Package available here.

22448317_759195647615781_4570763390921745454_n

Lovely review on Gin’s aprons:
“I highly, highly recommend these aprons. Purchase one for yourself as a treat. I have two of these aprons, one for Fall and one for Advent/Christmas. They are soft, lined on the backside in a coordinated fabric, and they are sewn together with much love and attention to all the details. The ties are long enough to wrap around your back and tie in front if you like that style. The Autumn one I’ve used for a couple of months now washes up well for me on delicate cycle with Woolite.”

Her aprons are available here.

Come visit my Meadows of Grace Shoppe for many beautiful hand-crafted items to please your loved ones this Christmas!

 

Where did Advent Go? – Maria Von Trapp

Happy First Sunday of Advent! Maria von Trapp reminds us what this preparation season is about!

20100923-tows-sound-of-music-timeline-1927-600x411 20100923-tows-sound-of-music-timeline-1936-600x411

The events that come to mind when we say “Christmas,” “Easter,” “Pentecost,” are so tremendous that their commemoration cannot be celebrated in a single day each. Weeks are needed.

First, weeks of preparation, of becoming attuned in body and soul, and then weeks of celebration.

This goes back to an age when people still had time–time to live, time to enjoy.

In our own day, we face the puzzling fact that the more time-saving gadgets we invent, the more new buttons to push in order to “save hours of work”–the less time we actually have.

We have no more time to read books; we can only afford digests. We have no time to walk a quarter of a mile; we have to hop into a car. We have no time to make things by hand; we buy them ready made in the five-and-ten or in the supermarket.

This atmosphere of “hurry up, let’s go” does not provide the necessary leisure in which to anticipate and celebrate a feast.

But as soon as people stop celebrating they really do not live any more–they are being lived, as it were.

The alarming question arises: what is being done with all the time that is constantly being saved? We invent more machines and more gadgets, which will relieve us more and more from the work formerly done by our hands, our feet, our brain, and which will carry us in feverishly increasing speed–where? Perhaps to the moon and other planets, but more probably to our final destruction.

Only the Church throws light onto the gloomy prospects of modern man–Holy Mother Church–for she belongs, herself, to a realm that has its past and present in Time, but its future in the World Without End.

It was fall when we arrived in the United States. The first weeks passed rapidly, filled with new discoveries every day, and soon we came across a beautiful feast, which we had never celebrated before: Thanksgiving Day, an exclusively American feast. With great enthusiasm we included it in the calendar of our family feasts.

Who can describe our astonishment, however, when a few days after our first Thanksgiving Day we heard from a loudspeaker in a large department store the unmistakable melody of “Silent Night”! Upon our excited inquiry, someone said, rather surprised: “What is the matter? Nothing is the matter. Time for Christmas shopping!”

It took several Christmas seasons before we understood the connection between Christmas shopping and “Silent Night” and the other carols blaring from loudspeakers in these pre-Christmas weeks.

And even now that we do understand, it still disturbs us greatly. These weeks before Christmas, known as the weeks of Advent, are meant to be spent in expectation and waiting.

This is the season for Advent songs–those age-old hymns of longing and waiting; “Silent Night” should be sung for the first time on Christmas Eve. We found that hardly anybody knows any Advent songs. And we were startled by something else soon after Christmas, Christmas trees and decorations vanish from the show windows to be replaced by New Year’s advertisements.

On our concert trips across the country we also saw that the lighted Christmas trees disappear from homes and front yards and no one thinks to sing a carol as late as January 2nd.

This was all very strange to us, for we were used to the old-world Christmas, which was altogether different but which we determined to celebrate now in our new country.

advent-1

ff-quote-for-the-day-fall

 
“Love is the most wonderful educator in the world; it opens up worlds and possibilities undreamed of to those to whom it comes, the gift of God. I am speaking of love which is worthy of the name, not of its many counterfeits. The genuine article only, based upon respect and esteem, can stand the test of time, the wear and tear of life; the love which is the wine of life, more stimulating and more heart-inspiring when the days are dark than at any other time,—the love which rises to the occasion, and which many waters cannot quench.”
-Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1894
14947857_595110774024270_3553903591032797842_n
We got our Advent wreaths out, did you? Today we light one purple candle and say the Advent Wreath prayers from your Advent Journal!
These are our unique Advent wreaths…you can see the first one is made to hold tea lights (those are still there from last year) and the other one is our “Advent Block” decorated and ready to go!
Advent Wreath Prayers from the Advent Journal:
I have not listened to this sermon yet but plan on it for the Season of Advent…
“Advent meditation on silence. How the noise of today’s society drowns out God’s voice. You cannot hear Him with all the noise in your life. Food for thought is the great saints of our day did not have mp3 players, cell phones, the internet, etc in their lives.”

 
Do you need some inspiration? For some great book suggestions visit My Book List… https://finerfem.com/my-book-list/
 

One Heart, One Soul

 

The love between husband and wife is so close to the Heart of Jesus and the most beautiful love on this earth. It is worth striving for!

from Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

How happy are married persons who can say as Maurice
Retour to his wife, “We love each other for our ideas. We see only God and we have become united in order to serve Him better.” Such is Christian love.

“We shall ask Christ, who sanctified marriage, to give us all the graces necessary for us. We pray with force but also with joy because we have great confidence in the future since both of us expect our happiness from God alone.”

And after Holy Communion which they both received on their wedding day they begged God “to make their mutual love always effect their personal sanctification, to bless their home by sending them many children, to keep in His grace themselves, their little ones and all who would ever live under their roof.”

Sometimes we hear it said that there are no examples of married persons living effectively the holy law of marriage as God prescribed it and Christ ratified it.

There are many. More than one might think. And, thanks be to
God, there have been some in all ages.

In the time of the early Church, Tertullian, believing his death to be approaching, wrote two books entitled Ad Uxorem, “To My Wife.” In the last chapter of the second book he gives an unforgettable picture of marriage. One cannot meditate on it too often.

He extols the happiness of marriage “which the Church approves, the Holy Sacrifice confirms, the Blessing seals, the Angels witness, and God ratifies. What an alliance is that of two faithful souls united in a single hope, under a single discipline, under a similar dependence. Both are servants of the same Master. There is no distinction of mind or of body.

Both are in truth one flesh; where there is but one body, there is but one mind. They kneel in prayer together, they teach each other, support each other. They are together in church, together at the Banquet of God, together in trials, in joy. They are incapable of hiding anything from each other, of deserting each other, of annoying each other.

In complete liberty, they visit the sick and help the poor. Without anxiety about each other they give alms freely, assist at Holy Mass and without any embarrassment manifest their fervor daily. They do not know what it means to make a furtive sign of the Cross, to mumble trembling greetings, to invoke silent blessings.

They sing hymns and psalms vying with each other to give God the most praise. Christ rejoices to see and hear them and gives them His peace. Wherever they are, Christ is with them.

“That is marriage as the Apostle speaks of it to us . . . The faithful cannot be otherwise in their marriage.”

Oh, that we might fulfill this ideal in our marriage!

We must pray for it and really want it.

86e5598cee1103b339e668e0d5706b0f

untitled

“Friends have been defined as those between whom there need not be conversation. They are aware of each other’s presence, and that is enough.” – Fr. Leo Kinsella, The Wife Desired, 1950’s

15068509_600872106781470_3161761406129612697_o

For those of you who may be starting a bit late, I have the e-book available of the Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal.

Available here.

 

Come and see the unique gift ideas at my Meadows of Grace Shoppe.

 

 

Tids ‘n’ Bits

Throwback Thursday repost….this was last year just after the elections.

Happy Almost Advent! What a beautiful time of the year! One can’t help getting into the Advent, spirit, can one? Some chatty things….

bowsheartstrings

I thought you’d like this one. Our little granddaughter, Nini (Sienna) is 4 and is very observant and articulate. This is the text I got from her mom, Theresa:

Nini: Can I have an orange?

Me (Mom): No.

Nini: But, Mom, this is Oranging Day, cuz that guy won (Donald Trump), to lead us in our country!

03a49f0a620a3bca447e33a38946086e

Haha! Smart Kid. It’s worth a try…..

img_7776

bowsheartstrings

Father gave a sermon this Sunday about Advent. It was very good…the kind that just sticks.

Do you remember 2010 and the Chilean Mining Accident? Thirty-three men were in a collapsed mine, 2300 ft. underground and 3 miles from the entrance to the cave! And they were there for 69 days!! Frightening!!

How they must have longed for the light! How they must have longed to be rescued! I really can’t imagine.

President of Chile visiting the miners at the hospital after they were rescued:

president_pinera_and_miners_in_copiapo_hospital

Father then compared that longing to the longing of men before Christ’s coming. How they longed for the light and to be rescued!

We, too, must stir up a longing for the Christ Child at Christmas through our Advent preparations and sacrifices, whatever they may be. The more we put into Advent, the more will be the fulfilling of our heart at Christmas by Him who loves us so much!

bowsheartstrings

Then Father talked about the Blue Ox in the story of the very big lumberjack, Paul Bunyan. Father is from Minnesota and that is where the story originated.

The Blue Ox was so big that you could tie the end of a road onto his neck and he would pull and pull, until it straightened right out…so they say. 😀

(Father is very smart to tell these stories because that’s the glue that makes the sermon stick.)

406528457

Anyway, he went on to ask what windy roads we have between God and ourselves?  What is it in our life that makes it hard to get to God and for Him to get to us? What vices, addictions, attachments and other things are in the way of giving our lives to Him?

Whatever it is, we need to work on them, pray about them, go to confession….make those winding, hard-to-travel roads straight again! It is a must if we are to grow in virtue and love of God!

Great meditations!

bowsheartstrings

These are our granddaughters Emma and Sienna. As you can see, it starts young….after many minutes in the bathroom they emerge…ready for town!

img_7983

img_7985

bowsheartstrings

Some good games of Life and Cribbage going on!

img_8032

bowsheartstrings

Rosie and Magdalene…(This picture was last year. Please pray for Rosie and her health. It is an ongoing struggle…it has been 4 years now… and she gets very frustrated not knowing, from one day to the next how she will be feeling, whether she will make it to work or if this day will find her having one of her exhausting fainting spells. It is an odd thing, this sickness and has kept her from doing the normal things a girl does at her age. So I am reaching out for prayers if you would be kind enough to say one for her.)

img_8017

Don’t forget! The St. Andrew/Christmas Novena starts today….November 30th! This is your page in the Advent Journal…make sure the heart is checked by this evening! (Advent Journal available here.)

Put your petitions for the Novena on this page! Don’t forget! It will be wonderful to look back and see how God has answered our prayers!

bowsheartstrings

 

untitled

Each day is a chance to grow in virtue and it begins with the little things. Show your husband you care….listen to him, smile at him, give him a hug when he doesn’t expect it. Your children are watching and courtesy and love are contagious! This Advent can be special…. it starts with you!

15253482_607615459440468_8712330667547787051_n

bowsheartstrings

 

Visit my Meadows of Grace Shoppe to browse through these truly lovely Kanzashi Ribbon Flowers made by my daughters, Virginia and Jeanette! What great Christmas gifts for that special someone!

Intricate and Classy Hand-Crafted Kanzashi Accessory Flower.. Hair, Scarf, Collar, etc…. This fetching ribbon flower is a perfect accent to any special outfit and provides a sweet final touch!
Each petal takes undivided attention! First, it is cut and shaped, then burnt to ensure there will be no fraying. The petals are then folded and glued into a flower design and the finishing touches are then added.
The back of the flower has a clip that easily opens and holds firmly.
Ribbon flowers are an excellent alternative to real flowers and will look fresh and beautiful forever!

How Did You Raise Such Wonderful Girls?

I’ve been asked that a few times. I can tell you that I sometimes am as surprised as the people who ask me. 🙂 It’s like I just woke up one day and said, “Wow we’ve done good! How did we do that?”

It’s not that our training wasn’t purposeful…it was. But with human weakness so apparent in our parenting, with imperfect circumstances, etc., it was hard to know the outcome.

And, things are not picture-perfect (it looks so good online, doesn’t it?) My girls are human and have many faults, like all those born under Eve’s lineage.

Also, life is not done yet and I have children at home. Dynamics are different than they used to be so I don’t know the outcome. At this point, though, I am very grateful for how things have transpired.

I’ve tried here to pinpoint along the way some of the things that we did… to actually be able to put them into words….and I do feel I have a few things I can share with you.

It is not to discourage you, though, because some of us have taken up the torch midstream. I was fortunate that I became serious about my faith BEFORE I got married. This is, in many circumstances, not the case. God takes us where we are at and can create a beautiful tapestry of a grace-filled life wherever we begin! He meets us where we are at on our own personal journey and is not outdone in generosity! It is imperative we remember that.

That being said, the following are a few things I think were very important on our own journey. (This is my own list. Hubby would have his own list, too. His contribution in many of these points are unspoken but always there.)


#1.
We were blessed to have started off on the right foot. We both worked at a Catholic Shrine so our courtship was truly amazing! We said the Rosary every day, we went to Mass every day, we went to Benediction every day and a lot of our courtship was during Lent so we were reading the Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ together.

This is obviously not possible for most people but the effort put into our courtship and even before we meet that special someone, the effort meaning: Gaining as much graces as possible through daily Mass, etc. will help to get started on the right foot. So many marriages begin on the wrong foot, stained with serious sin, and I do believe this has a negative impact on the relationship in general.

Once again, if that has been your own experience (not getting started on the right foot), with God’s grace the pieces can be picked up…yes, they can! ❤

#2. My discipline was not as consistent as it could have been. Like you, I was tired, etc. If I was nursing a baby or whatever and the child’s behavior needed tending to, it was a temptation to overlook things….and I did at times. For the most part, though, I did not let my children outright disobey me or say no to me. They never struck me. If they ever tried such things they were swiftly punished.

#3. I taught them to respect their dad. I tried to only talk highly of him to them. Even though I did not always agree with my husband’s ways, my disagreements were kept in check, as much as possible, around the children. I knew it was important to hold a united front  together. The only reason I knew to do that was through the books I had been reading. I didn’t have any experience with this sort of thing in my own young, rather rocky and independent life. If you don’t teach your children to respect their dad, believe me, it will come back to bite you! They will also disrespect you as the years go by. This is not easy, and I failed many times, but I dusted myself off, knew where my mistake was, and began again.

#4. We homeschooled. This was always a challenge and I felt inadequate. But I kept trying and the bond that I formed with my children was irreplaceable. We struggled together each day.  Once again, I do not think it is for everyone. I am just telling you the things that I feel contributed to the girls I have today.

#5. We had joy in our family. We played lots of games. The TV was not the center of our recreation (we didn’t have a TV for the first 15 years of our marriage). My husband and I played volleyball with our kids right up until a couple years ago. Here and there we still get out there with them.  We make movie time (now that we have a TV) a family fun event!

Disclaimer here…Yes, we had joy. But I had my off days, even my off years! One year I got very sick and it was a slow climb out. Was I joyful? No! Days when you are so weary, days when you feel blah, etc. Joy?? You kidding??!

This is the amazing thing….even though I struggled with many things (my melancholic nature is not nice to me at times), the kids don’t remember those off times if you try to keep the tone positive in between times (and hopefully there are many in-between times)!

I knew it was important, that our kids would not want what we have if we didn’t have joy, so joy was fought for. I thought I was failing, I woke up one day to find out I hadn’t failed. Like I said, God meets us more than halfway!

#6. (I had my girls read my list and they wanted me to mention these “Don’ts” that we “Do”).  Our kids didn’t go out of the home for their social time. It was brought to us. When we did go somewhere for a good time, for the most part, it was as a family. They also didn’t spend much time in their rooms…those were for sleeping not for spending time with their friends or hanging out by themselves.

Which brings me to another rule we had…No Sleepovers. It’s easier to make a rule with no exceptions (cousins traveling and spending the night is different…though it was closely monitored, too), than to pick and choose which sleepover events they can take part in. Sleepovers are dangerous times and ones that parents are oblivious to as they are in their beds sawing logs while the girls are chatting away….

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we see sin at every corner. We don’t. But we also avoid particular situations that make it easy on the kids to break rules….whether talking about subjects they shouldn’t divulge in with their friends…..Or maybe even worse.

#7. Some Do’s! I worked very hard at trying to make the Faith come alive in our home. We did Saint Nicholas stockings, Lenten practices, Advent practices, we sang hymns at the end of the rosary, we did novenas together, we did little processions, we did special things on Feast Days. We supplied the magic and the charm to our Catholic heritage.

Once again I learned this from the books that I share with you each day. I did not have any experience with this beforehand. And I was not perfect at it. Often it was one week into Advent before I got the wreath out, etc. Or life was so hectic, things were put on the back burner. As the kids got older, though, this consistency became more “on” than “off”.

It paid off. I see my married kids doing the same with their children. They are even more solicitous than I was. It warms the cockles of my heart.

#8. We were open to the friends of my children. We were picky, but we were open. They came over often and took part in our home life. We fed them, they often stopped by the store and picked things up for us for dinner. It was a give-give situation.

I never went to bed until I knew everyone was either gone, or my oldest son at home was left in charge. No one went off to form little groups, everything was done together. We played games with the kids, sang songs, had bonfires.

If any of our girls were of courting age, this is how we got to know the potential suitor and how they got to know us. And believe me, true personalities came out during games!!

#9. We have a strict dress code in our family but we have fun with it. Some of the girls sew, we love pretty colors and flowy, feminine things. The girls make the ribbon flowers to embellish their clothes and hair. We wear colors for the seasons and just enjoy dressing well.

Their clothing is not thought of as a negative thing…what they can’t wear. It’s about the amazing choices and colors and materials we CAN use! And my daughters know they are respected, as women, for the way they dress. In general, they don’t give it too much thought (that we are so different in that aspect from the world), it is just a way of life and always has been.

#10. Our technology is very closely monitored. Only my husband and I know the password to our computer and my phone is always locked. The older girls can look at recipes or something they want to buy on Amazon but it is not in a private place and it is not for long periods of time (which they don’t desire anyway…it is a means to an end for them).

They can ask to look at my phone, my Facebook account, if they wish, it is an open book and I don’t mind. But for the most part, they don’t use the internet much. They are all pretty good typists, though, and they know the basics.

The older girls have flip-phones and texting is not opened up until they are courting. They don’t have smart phones.

Don’t ever think your kids are above looking at stuff they shouldn’t. No, they are curious…especially boys, but girls, too. Be solicitous! We’ve slipped up here and there and I was given a reality check….that the devil is waiting to pounce on my own kids, too!!

#11. The Rosary has been our mainstay throughout the years. When it was forgotten, it wasn’t intentional. See the post My Little Story About the Rosary.

We also went to daily Mass as much as we could. There were many days, months, years, when hubby was working lots of hours, I was nursing or pregnant and homeschooling and it was too much to go to Mass every day. I would go in spurts or try to make it at least one more time a week besides Sunday. We are now back at it but it is easier because I don’t have lots of little people at home.

A couple of years back I was scratching my head wondering how the last half of our kids were going to turn out. Truly, the dynamics have changed around here (not in a bad way…just changed) and I was nervous how this was going to affect the next batch of kids.

As I was digging around for a solution, I came up with one…..Get back to daily Mass! So I have given that quandary (my kids and how they will turn out) right back to Our Lord and I am going to let Him figure it out. He’s doing pretty good! 😀

#12. Our girls have realized right from the get-go what an incredible and awesome “career choice” is Wifehood and Motherhood! They don’t see it as a “dumbing-down”, they see it as a privilege. They are open to life and they look forward to the day their vocation, as a religious sister or a mother, is shown to them so they can dig in! They know their purpose in life.

Therefore, and this is a big THEREFORE,… they are not antsy for college or a career. Their lives are so full, either helping us with our busy lifestyle, at our parish, or, recently, helping with nieces and nephews, etc., that the farthest thing from their mind is to seek a career outside the home!

They stay home until they are married. Life is full…no need to look elsewhere!

My husband and I have tried to show them, and I think we have succeeded, what an awesome thing Catholic Family Life is! It takes work, you need to be counter-cultural, but it all comes with so many blessings!

And my girls see it. They look around at what other girls their age and of the world are doing and they don’t want it. They feel very blessed!

An aside here….This next batch of girls coming up have seen a lot of the struggles of married life and motherhood from their older siblings. They look at it with a little more trepidation….hehe…than my first children. But they will be ready when the time comes, I am confident of that.

Well, there you have the list. Remember….in between each of those numbers should be another part….the part that says we were inadequate and didn’t do it all perfectly or with always the right attitude.

Once again, that should encourage all of us that it can be done….even with our weak humanness!

And, of course, I am not saying our way is THE way. You can pick and choose those things that may help you in your own family.

AND if you have lots of pieces to pick up….look up! God is not wanting in miracles! Miracles that change lives!

From Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe

Our great drama is this: Man does not have confidence in God. Hence he looks in every possible place to extricate himself by his own resources and renders himself terribly unhappy in the process rather than abandon himself into the tender and saving hands of his Father in heaven. Yet, how unjustified this lack of confidence is!

Isn’t it absurd that a child would thus doubt his Father, when this Father is the best and most powerful Who could exist, when He is the Father in heaven? In spite of that, it is in this absurdity that we most frequently live.

Listen to the gentle reproach that the Lord addressed to us through the mouth of Saint Catherine of Siena:

Why don’t you have confidence in me, your Creator? Why do you rely on yourself? Am I not faithful and loyal to you?

Redeemed and restored to grace by virtue of the blood of my only Son, man can then say that he has experienced my fidelity.

And, nevertheless, he still doubts, it would appear, that I am sufficiently powerful to help him, sufficiently strong to help and defend him against his enemies, sufficiently wise to illuminate the eyes of his intelligence or that I have sufficient clemency to want to give him whatever is necessary for his salvation.

It would appear that I am not sufficiently rich to make his fortune, not beautiful enough to make him beautiful; one might say that he is afraid not to find enough bread in my home to nourish himself, nor clothing with which to cover himself.” (The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena)

We are called to be great Apostles of Love in our ordinary, daily life. We are Christ’s Hands and Feet as we wipe noses, feed hungry little ones and change diapers with an attitude of service and love. When we are cheerful to those we rub shoulders with each day, when we kindly open our door to those who enter into our home, we are taking part in Christ’s Apostolic Work. “Jesus was an Apostle in the stable of Bethlehem, in the shop of St. Joseph, in His anguish in Gethsemane and on Calvary no less than when He was going through Palestine, teaching the multitudes or disputing with the doctors of the law.” – Divine Intimacy, Painting by Morgan Weistling http://amzn.to/2p0dxg8 (afflink)

 

A beautiful Advent CD sung by a beautiful Benedictine Order of Nuns…Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.

Available here.

Advent is such a special season! And this year, you can make it more meaningful than you ever have!
This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls.
I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first!
At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all!
The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable.
I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!

Advent Package Special! The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal & Celine’s Advent! Available here.

 

 

 

 

St. Andrew Novena – The Special Christmas Novena! Starting Thursday, Nov. 30th!

From The Rosary and Gifts

A Favorite Christmas Novena ~
The St Andrew Novena

jesus-birthThe Christmas Novena, the St Andrew Novena  (November 30th – December 24th), is I believe, one of the most popular Catholic Advent prayers.

My family and I love to say this novena each year in preparation for Advent. We offer the intention as a family intention, one we wish to gain for the family as a whole, and also a private intention, one that each one of us would like to gain like a particular virtue or help in fighting against a vice.

Because the prayer is longer than nine (9) days, and not quite 27, it’s technically not a novena or a set of novenas, but, because it is prayed ‘novena style’, that is, repeatedly for a set amount of days, it is referred to as a novena.

In my family, we have found that we remember to say the novena best when we attach it to our daily Rosary. We set the slips of paper that we have written or printed the prayer out on next to our Rosary bowl. I do know other families say this novena with their grace before dinner while they light the candles as part of their Advent wreath prayers.

The prayer can be said at anytime during the day, but if you have a regular time the whole family is together like for the Rosary, morning/night prayers, or at meals, it might be a good idea to say the novena at a set, regular time.

Imagine a child who loves you…he is willing to do just about anything in his power to please you.

NOW imagine the Christ-Child. He too is willing to do just about anything for you. Everything is in His power to do and to give, as long as the petitioned favor isn’t contrary to what Our Lord deems necessary for your eternal salvation. This is an important caveat that I have trouble remembering! 😉

In this Advent season of preparing for Christ’s coming, the St Andrew Christmas Novena is a loving way to prepare ourselves and our families.

St Andrew holds the honor of being the first apostle to be called by Christ to follow Him.

This novena is a bit different in that it does not invoke the intervention or aid of the saint himself, but is adoring, glorifying the hour of Christ’s birth and seeking aid from God Himself!

The novena is begun on the Feast of Saint Andrew, November 30th, and is said thru Christmas Eve, December 24th.

**(If you start late, or if you miss a day do not be discouraged! Catch up by saying the extra prayers you missed along the way….Jesus will bless every effort!)

St Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and Blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.  In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

Recite 15 times per day. It is permitted to break it up and pray 5x’s in the morning, afternoon and evening, but for the sake of missing one of the times and forgetting, I prefer to say them all at once.

Prepare for Miracles!

1459160_10152062495559204_1453975300_n

This Advent Chaplet is to keep track of your 15 Christmas Novena prayers. It has a lovely brass crucifix, is durable and wire-wrapped to last for many Advents to come! Limited quantity. 🙂   Included is a laminated prayer card with the novena prayer on it. If you are interested click here.

For those who have the Advent Journal, this is your November 30th page that has the heart that can be checked when you have said your novena for that day. Don’t forget!

“Children must be taught constantly from their tenderest years to have a real love and friendship for their Angels, to have boundless confidence in them. They must be accustomed to feel and realize the personal presence of their Angels, to call on them in all their fears and troubles.” -Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, All about the Angels

15095068_599796803555667_5636474586868692443_n

A unique gift! Make a statement with these lovely and graceful handcrafted aprons….fully lined….made with care. Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire. Wear your apron with joy….it is a symbol of Femininity….”Finer” Femininity! Available here.

 

 

A Spiritual Christmas Crib – New! Printables!

Yes, it’s that time of year again when I remind you (and me) to take this season of Advent (starting this Sunday!) to make it special for your family! The magic and charm of Christmas comes from our Catholic Heritage! Let’s monopolize on that!

This is a beautiful devotion that can be made simple! Especially now that I have some printables for you to make it easier!

It’s nice to follow this devotion from a book so consider getting the Finer Femininity Advent/Christmas Maglet.

OR The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal which has the devotion on each day of Advent!

This is a custom we have kept throughout the years. It is a beautiful little devotion preparing our hearts for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas.

You can do the special activities indicated each day in this devotion in your own manger scene, using your imagination. When my older ones were young we made a 3D stable out of heavy cardboard and added the different themes each day…whether it was drawing in the cobwebs or making paper doll figurines for the nativity scene.

Or you can do what we have done the last few years. We put up 4 big white posterboard papers on an empty wall to make a big blank paper just waiting for the crayons and sharpies to make their mark! (You can make it as big or small as you like, using just one or two posterboards.) Each morning we draw the part of the manger scene that is applicable to that day.

I usually do the drawing in pencil then the child whose day it is traces it with colored markers and colors it in.

OR, (and I wish to thank my friend, Mary Ann for for this!!), you can use these Stable printables, get your children to color them on the day they go into the stable, and voila! you can add them to your Nativity scene!

We also print out (or write out) the special prayer for the day and put the assigned one up so we can say it throughout the day.

We sometimes forget a couple days and have to back track. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is a wonderful family devotion that helps to make Advent and Christmas meaningful!Nativity WallpaperPhoto 7Photo 2-002Christmas Dance 2013 (101)

Here’s the devotion:

Start on December 1.

Read the thought indicated
about Christ’s first crib.
Practice it during the day. Do this daily during
December and make your heart a worthy crib for
Christ on Christmas Day.

DEC.1 – THE STABLE
Frequently during the day offer your heart to the
little Infant Jesus. Ask Him to make it His home. –

Sweet Jesus, take my heart and make it meek and
pure.

DEC.2 – THE ROOF
See that the roof of the stable is in good
condition, so that the Infant Jesus is protected
from rain and snow. This you will do by carefully
avoiding every uncharitable remark. —Jesus,
teach me to love my neighbor as myself.

DEC.3 – CREVICES
Carefully stop every crevice in the walls of the
stable, so that the wind and cold may not enter
there. Guard your senses against temptations. Guard
especially your ears against sinful
conversations.–Jesus, help me to keep
temptations out of my heart.

DEC.4 – COBWEBS
Clean the cobwebs from your spiritual crib.
Diligently remove from your heart every
inordinate desire of being praised. Renew this
intention at least three times today. —My Jesus,
I want to please You in all I do today.

DEC.5 – FENCE
Build a fence about the crib of your heart by
keeping a strict watch over your eyes, especially
at prayer. —Sweet Jesus, I long to see You.

DEC.6 – MANGER
Fix the best and warmest corner of your heart
for the manger of Jesus. You will do so by
abstaining from what you like most in the line of
comfort and amusement. —Mary, use these
sacrifices to prepare my heart for Jesus in
Holy Communion.

DEC.7 – HAY
Supply the manger of your heart with hay, by
overcoming all feelings of pride, anger or envy.
Jesus, teach me to know and correct my greatest
sins.

DEC.8 – SOFT STRAW
Provide your manger with soft straw by
performing little acts of mortification; for
instance, bear the cold without complaints; or sit
and stand erect. —Dear Jesus, Who suffered so
much for me, let me suffer for love of You.

DEC.9 – SWADDLING CLOTHES
Prepare these for the Divine Infant by folding
your hands when you pray, and praying slowly and
thoughtfully. —Jesus let me love you more and
more.

DEC.10 – BLANKETS
Provide the manger with soft warm
blankets. Avoid harsh and angry words; be kind and
gentle to all. —Jesus, help me to be meek and
humble like You.

DEC.11 – FUEL
Bring fuel to the crib of Jesus. Give up your own
will; obey your superiors cheerfully and
promptly. —Jesus, let me do Your will in all
things

DEC.12-WATER
Bring fresh clean water to the crib. Avoid every
untruthful word and every deceitful act.
Dearest Mary, obtain for me true contrition for
my sins.

DEC.13 – PROVISIONS
Bring a supply of food to the crib. Deprive
yourself of some food at mealtime or candy as a
treat. —Jesus, be my strength and nourishment.

DEC.14 – LIGHT
See that the crib has sufficient light. Be
neat and orderly about your person; keep
everything in its place in your room. —Jesus, be
the life and light of my soul.

DEC.15 – FIRE
Take care to have the crib of your heart warmed
by a cozy fire. Be grateful to God for the love He
has shown us in becoming man; behave with grateful
respect towards your parents and relatives. —
Jesus, how can I return Your love; how can I show
my gratitude to You?

DEC.16 – THE OX
Lead the ox to the crib. Obey cheerfully without
making excuses and without asking “why.” —I will
obey for love of You, Jesus.

DEC.17 – THE DONKEY
Bring the donkey to the crib. Offer to the Divine
Infant your bodily strength; use it in the service
of others. —Jesus, accept my service of love;
I offer it for those who do not love You.

DEC.18 – GIFTS
Gather some presents for the Divine Infant and
His Blessed Mother. Give alms for the poor and say
an extra decade of the rosary. —Come, Jesus, to
accept my gifts and to take possession of my heart.

DEC.19 – LAMBS
Strive to bring some little lambs, meek and
and patient. Do not murmur or complain.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make

my heart like Yours.

DEC.20 – SHEPHERDS
Invite the shepherds to pay homage to our newborn
King. Imitate their watchfulness; stress in your
speech and thoughts the idea that Christmas is
important because Jesus will be born again in
you.
Jesus, teach me to love You above all things.

DEC.21 – THE KEY
Provide the stable with a key to keep out
thieves. Exclude from your heart every sinful
thought, every rash judgment —Dear Jesus, close
my heart to all that hurts you.

DEC.22 – ANGELS
Invite the angels to adore God with you.
Cheerfully obey the inspirations of
your guardian angel and of your conscience. —
Holy Guardian Angel, never let me forget that You
are with me always.

DEC.23 – ST. JOSEPH
Accompany Saint Joseph from door to door. Learn
from him silently and patiently to bear refusals
and disappointments. Open wide your heart and beg
Him to enter with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Saint Joseph, help me to prepare for a worthy
Christmas Communion.

DEC.24 – THE BLESSED VIRGIN
Go meet your Blessed Mother. Lead her to the
manger of your heart and beg her to lay the
Divine Infant in it. Shorten your chats and
telephone conversations and spend more time today
thinking of Jesus and Mary and Joseph.
Come, dear Jesus, Come; my heart belongs to You.

01760-nativity-1

 

As Advent approaches, and if you are using my Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal (if you are not, this tidbit is still a good reminder), you will want to peek at the following page. It will help you to get the things together you will need to do the Advent Traditions in the book. If there are some activities you are not doing then check or cross them off this list. We do them all but that is optional. Pick and choose as you see fit…

Advent Calendars (we have used the pop-up ones in the past….sweet, if you have a place to set it) need to be purchased now. Advent starts this Sunday!!) The Advent candles can be bought online, too!

Check out my Finer Femininity Maglet here

No MagazineSave when you buy all three Maglets here.

 

Spiritual Reading – Light and Peace, Quadrupani

This excerpt is from the wonderful little book written in the 1890’s:

Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts
Blessed is the man whom Thou shalt instruct, O Lord, and shalt teach
him out of Thy Law. (Ps. XCIII, v. 12.)

All scripture divinely inspired, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice. (S. P. Timoth., Ep. II, iii, 16.)

16bbc02c0c5cb0c89386e4a038c6dd94

1. Spiritual reading is to the soul what food is to the body. Be careful, therefore, to select such books as will furnish your soul with the best nourishment. I would recommend you to become familiar especially with the works of Saint Francis de Sales.

2. When the choice of reading matter is made by the advice of a spiritual director the teaching it contains should be looked upon as coming from the mouth of God.

3. Do not affect those lives of the Saints in which the supernatural and marvelous predominate. The devout imagination becomes inflamed by such reading and is imbued with vain and useless desires: it leads some to aspire to the revelations of Saint Bridget or the raptures of Saint Joseph of Cupertino, others to imitate the mortifications of the Stylites; and thus by losing time in desiring extraordinary graces, they neglect, to their great detriment, ordinary duties and real obligations.

Take great care, then, not to allow yourself to be absorbed in those wonderful characteristics of the saints which we should be content to admire; give preference rather to their simple and interior virtues, for these alone are imitable for us.

“We ought not to wish for extraordinary things, as, for example, that
God would take away our heart, as He did with Saint Catherine of
Sienna’s, and give us His in return.

But we should desire that our poor hearts no longer live save in subjection to the Heart of our loving Savior, and this will be the best way of imitating Saint Catherine, for we shall thus become meek, humble and charitable….

True holiness consists in love of God, and not in foolish imaginations and dreamings that nourish self-love whilst they undermine obedience and humility. The desire to have ecstasies and visions is a deception.

Let us turn rather to the practice of true meekness and submissiveness, of self-renunciation and docility, of ready compliance with the wishes of others. Thus we shall emulate the saints in what is more real and more admirable for us than ecstasies.”—St. Francis de Sales.

4. Use still greater precautions in regard to ascetical works. Many of these are carelessly written, confound precepts with counsels, badly define the virtues by not showing the limits beyond which they become extravagances, and entertain the reader with trifling and purely exterior practices that are more apt to flatter self-love than to reform the heart.

5. It has been remarked very justly by a learned theologian that the ignorance and indiscreet zeal of certain writers of ascetical books have furnished the heretics of later times with arms to attack our holy religion and to turn it into ridicule.

6. A judicious author expresses himself thus on the same subject: “In order to write on spiritual matters it is not enough to have great piety,—great learning is also necessary. A man actuated by the best motives in the world may yet have strange delusions, and feed his imagination with devout extravagances.”

An author should be equally well versed in theory and experienced in practice, otherwise he will err either in regard to principles or to their application.

There is a well-known saying generally attributed to Saint Thomas: “If a man be good and holy let him pray for us; if he be learned too, then let him teach us.”

It is essential, in matters of religion especially, to give none but true and precise ideas, or else they will do more harm than good. Doctrines that are not exact create scruples in weak souls and invite the criticisms of intelligent Christians, whilst they excite the railleries of free-thinkers and furnish arguments to unbelievers.

7. Almost every day we find ascetical works published which contain many inaccuracies of the kind described. Exercise great care, therefore, in the selection of this kind of reading or you may injure your soul instead of sanctifying it. The safest course is to consult your director on the subject.

old books - 2zxDk-uw1c - print

346199 (2)

Allez-BOOKS ( sepia) - 2zxDa-nsZ0 - print

 

“The bone-dry definitions in the catechism are as essential as the recipe for the cake, but if we put them together with imagination and enthusiasm, and add love and experience, then set them afire with the teaching of Christ, His stories, His life, the Old Testament as well as the New, and the lives of the saints, we can make the study of catechism a tremendous adventure.” -Mary Reed Newland, http://amzn.to/2wSJI3w

An excellent sermon for your Sunday!

Excellent books! With God in Russia and the sequel He Leadeth Me!

You won’t be disappointed!

“In With God in Russia, Ciszek reflects on his daily life as a prisoner, the labor he endured while working in the mines and on construction gangs, his unwavering faith in God, and his firm devotion to his vows and vocation. Enduring brutal conditions, Ciszek risked his life to offer spiritual guidance to fellow prisoners who could easily have exposed him for their own gains. He chronicles these experiences with grace, humility, and candor, from his secret work leading mass and hearing confessions within the prison grounds, to his participation in a major gulag uprising, to his own “resurrection”—his eventual release in a prisoner exchange in October 1963 which astonished all who had feared he was dead.

Powerful and inspirational, With God in Russia captures the heroic patience, endurance, and religious conviction of a man whose life embodied the Christian ideals that sustained him.”

Available here.

“He Leadeth Me is a deeply personal story of one man’s spiritual odyssey and the unflagging faith which enabled him to survive the ordeal that wrenched his body and spirit to near collapse. Captured by a Russian army during World War II and convicted of being a “Vatican spy,” Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent some 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. Learning to accept even the inhuman work of toiling in the infamous Siberian salt mines as a labor pleasing to God, he was able to turn the adverse forces of circumstance into a source of positive value and a means of drawing closer to the compassionate and never-forsaking Divine Spirit. He Leadeth Me is a book to inspire all Christians to greater faith and trust in God—even in their darkest hour. For, as the author asks, “What can ultimately trouble the soul that accepts every moment of every day as a gift from the hands of God and strives always to do his will?”

Available here.

Do you need some inspiration? For some great book suggestions visit My Book List… https://finerfem.com/my-book-list/

 

 

Black or Blue Friday?

Tags

, ,

What are you doing on this Black Friday? Are you feeling a little blue?

A little story…Hubby was filling up his truck one day, it was early and cold and he was off to work….a job that was hard and required much physical labor.

A priest (and friend) was at the gas station also. He said hello to my husband and then asked him how he was?

Vincent answered, “Fantastic!”

The dear priest said to him, “That’s nice. Why are you fantastic?”

Vincent’s answer “Well, because I am alive, I have my health, I have many blessings, it is a beautiful day and I am a Roman Catholic!”

The priest smiled, “Yes, if you look at it that way….”

We are in control of our own thoughts, reactions and attitudes, as Fr. Philippe points out in the following story….

 

A story from Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe:

A witness for our times: Etty Hillesum

I want to cite briefly a  recent testimony to interior freedom, one both very different from and very close to St. Thérèse’s. It moved me deeply. It is the testimony of Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman who died at Auschwitz in November 1943, and whose diary was published in 1981.

Her “story of a soul” unfolded in the Netherlands at a time when the Nazis’ persecution of Jews was intensifying.

When Etty began to write her journal, her moral life was far from edifying. She was emotionally vulnerable, had no fixed moral guidelines, and had had several lovers. She was, however, driven by a powerful craving for the truth about herself.

Thanks to a friend of hers, a psychologist and also a Jew, she discovered (without ever becoming explicitly Christian) some of the values that lie at the heart of Christianity: prayer, the presence of God within herself, and the evangelical invitation to abandon herself trustingly to Providence.

Before she was finally deported to Auschwitz, while a prisoner in a Dutch transit camp, she showed a faith in God, courage in suffering, and a devotion to neighbor that demonstrated the reality of her spirituality despite the dark areas in her life.

It is astonishing to read how this young woman devoted herself to living by the Gospel values she was discovering little by little. Just when all her exterior freedoms were being progressively taken away, she discovered within herself a happiness and interior freedom that no one could steal from her from then on.

There is a very significant passage in her spiritual experience:

This morning I cycled along the Station Quay enjoying the broad sweep of the sky at the edge of the city, breathing in the fresh, unrationed air. And everywhere signs barring Jews from the paths and the open country. But above the one narrow path still left to us stretches the sky, intact.

They can’t do anything to us, they really can’t. They can harass us, they can rob us of our material goods, of our freedom of movement, but we ourselves forfeit our greatest assets by our misguided compliance. By our feelings of being persecuted, humiliated, oppressed. By our own hatred. By our swagger, which hides our fear.

We may of course be sad and depressed by what has been done to us; that is only human and understandable. However, our greatest injury is one we inflict upon ourselves.

I find life beautiful, and I feel free. The sky within me is as wide as the one stretching above my head. I believe in God and I believe in man, and I say so without embarrassment.

Life is hard, but that is no bad thing. If one starts by taking one’s own importance seriously, the rest follows.

It is not morbid individualism to work on oneself. True peace will come only when every individual finds peace within himself; when we have all vanquished and transformed our hatred for our fellow human beings of whatever race—even into love one day, although perhaps that is asking too much.

It is, however, the only solution. I am a happy person and I hold life dear indeed, in this year of Our Lord 1942, the umpteenth year of the war.

Interior freedom: Freedom to believe, hope, and love

The life experiences of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and Etty Hillesum indicate the next point we need to consider. True freedom, the sovereign liberty of Christians, resides in the possibility of believing, hoping, and loving in all circumstances, thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit who “helps us in our weakness.”

Nobody can ever prevent us. “For I am sure that neither death, nor life, not angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

No circumstance in the world can ever prevent us from believing in God, from placing all our trust in Him, from loving Him with our whole heart, or from loving our neighbor.

Faith, hope, and charity are absolutely free, because if they are rooted in us deeply enough, they are able to draw strength from whatever opposes them!

If someone sought to prevent us from believing by persecuting us, we always would retain the option of forgiving our enemies and transforming the situation of oppression into one of greater love.

If someone tried to silence our faith by killing us, our deaths would be the best possible proclamation of our faith! Love, and only love, can overcome evil by good and draw good out of evil.

Growth in faith, hope, and love is the only pathway to freedom.

The mother is the real homemaker. It is in her hands, that the tender life is laid for its first impressions. In all its education and culture, she has the main part. Her spirit makes the home atmosphere. The law of God makes the father the head of the household, and devolves upon him as such—the responsibility for the up building of his house, the training of his children, the care of all the sacred interests of his family. -J.R. Miller

Blessed Mother “Madonna and Child” Apron! Feminine and Beautiful! Fully lined, quality material, made with care. Available here.

 

My Little Story About Attitude

Throwback Thursday and Thanksgiving is a good time to talk about ATTITUDE!

 

Life is 90% attitude and 10% circumstance.    I like this saying.  I use it on my children when they are giving into their “stinkin’ thinkin”!  If it was my quote I would change it a little. Life is 90 percent attitude, coupled with faith, and 10 percent circumstances.  We DO have choices on how we react to what life is dishing out!

I am very grateful that I have had some people in my life that have made a powerful impact on me because of their awesome attitudes, especially in the face of adversity!  Today I would like to write about 3 of these people.

I met Kay when I was 18 yrs.old.  She is a middle-aged German woman who always had a smile on her face and a ready laugh.  Young people were attracted to her like a magnet. She was always available to talk to and had good, sound advice for the problems of youth.   I was one of those people that was immediately attracted to Kay.  I wondered how she managed to stay in a good mood…all the time!

ONE DAY Kay told me her story.  She had been married and had 2 lovely daughters.  She and her husband lived next door to Kay’s best friend. Life was going along great until one dark day when Kay found out that her husband was cheating on her…with her best friend.  Not only was Kay heartbroken, she was incensed!

Kay is a strong German woman…emotionally and physically.  You didn’t want to get her enraged!  She took out her gun.  She went behind some bushes and pointed the gun at her best friend.  Kay wasn’t being dramatic.  She was cold, dead serious.  Fortunately she had one sane moment when she realized where this action would take her.  Jail didn’t look too good.  So she pointed it at her own head, once again took a second look at what she was doing (she was a Catholic), put the gun down and walked away.

She then began her journey groping her way out of her gloom.  She lived on a dairy farm and every day she would go to milk the cows, pain and bitterness shadowing her every step.  Through gritted teeth she would murmur bible quotes like, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” or “Rejoice in the Lord always again I say rejoice”!  Slowly, slowly, it began to change her frame of mind. The cloud began to lift!

When I met Kay she was a dynamo of joy and strength.  She had a love for life that was coupled with compassion because of what she had endured and overcome.  Her situation hadn’t changed but she sure had!  I lived with Kay and her daughter for about a year. I learned a lot from her. She was a true example to me of overcoming difficult circumstances through prayer and simple steps of changing one’s attitude.

Then there is Jim.  Ten years ago Jim was a Harley Davidson guy.  His way of life and his habits were quickly destroying him.  One day Jim got into a terrible car accident!

He woke up from it and was not able to move his limbs! Jim was now a quadriplegic.  He couldn’t move anything below his neck except his right hand – and he could only move that a little.

Now, when you go into Jim’s room it is quiet with no movement.  It is usually dimly lit. Jim is laying on his back…and that’s pretty much it.  It kind of gives one the feeling of walking into a tomb.  Silence…stillness…solitude.

But it doesn’t end there.  When Jim starts to talk you begin to see something very much alive!   Jim will tell you, with his eyes sparkling, that he is happier now than he has ever been! It’s really quite astounding!

You see, since Jim had his accident, he became a Catholic. Through one of our Legion of Mary members who came to visit him often in the hospital, he converted. He now uses every ounce of his suffering for his wife (who left him after the accident), the conversion of his children and for the many families who have befriended Jim from our parish. He has many of our pictures up on the wall so he can pray for us all! He has a deep and incredible purpose in his life now and he knows his sufferings are like gold in the Eyes of God, if borne properly!

Physically, Jim’s quality of life had changed dramatically but his outlook is incredible.  Now He has faith, hope and joy.  Interiorly, Jim is a new man!  There are people who visit him and walk away shaking their heads because of the irony of it. When I talk to Jim on the phone I get tingles in my spine, realizing what an awesome guy he is! He is an inspiration to all.

The last but certainly not the least person I’d like to talk about today is someone quite close to me – my husband, Vincent.  Here’s a man who has an attitude with a Capital A.  He told me that he tried to be in a bad mood once, but didn’t like it!

Here’s just a small example.

Our home is unique. It is built with a lot of used material and lumber and rock left over from Vincent’s jobs. It took us five years to get it barely to the point of being livable. It is made up of mostly block and rock and we built it when we had time and money (both of which have a way of not showing up at the same time!) Vincent worked on it after a hard day’s work…..for five long years. The house still had a lot of finishing to do but we finally moved in! Happy Day!!…considering we had been living in a one-bedroom little home with 7 children!

Vincent had finally and painstakingly finished our little Cathedral ceiling. It had sat there with insulation exposed for 3 years. He took some old pickets from a fence, planed them, varnished them and placed them in the ceiling! It was beautiful!

Shortly after, in 2003, we had a fire that could have taken some of our lives!  When the firemen arrived they violently swung their axes into that nice cathedral ceiling!  We gasped! Oh no! Not the cathedral ceiling…we waited so long for it!

They then began to heap the debris up into a pile when Vincent spotted something!  It was his long lost wallet that still contained $500.00.  He pulled it out of the mound, grinned and said a one-liner we’ll never forget, “This is my lucky day!” 😛Virginia's Formal Wedding pics 345

He always amazes me.  It is difficult in this day and age to be the sole bread winner of a family of 13.  I’ve seen him go through some pretty terrifying circumstances.  When the dust settles or even before it does, he rises smiling, looking at the bright side of things, thanking God for everything He has given him! What an attitude!

When my dear husband is gone, he will certainly be remembered by his undying good attitude! Circumstances do not deter him. He knows he is a Child of God and he relies on his Faith to get him through! What a witness he is!

Did you know that researchers have determined that the average person thinks over 40,000 thoughts each day?   Wow!  That’s a lot of thoughts scurrying through our minds.  If we analyzed these thoughts I wonder if we would discover just how much is negative self-talk.  The exciting thing about it is that we CAN change our thoughts and in turn our destiny.  How?

A wise woman once said, “I figure that practice makes perfect!  I know people who, though they did not have a natural knack for music, started piano lessons and practiced every day.  After 2 or 3 yrs. their fingers moved across the keys easily and their music sounded sweeter each time they played.  If you ask them how they do it, they would answer ‘Practice.  I have practiced so much that it comes second nature to me.’  Our life is like that.  If we practice thoughts of joy and thanksgiving it will become easier and easier to have a good attitude, even in adversity.”

I am still practicing and learning these things.  I will always be a student educating myself in the Book of Life. I’m really thankful for the people in my life that have led the way for me and continue to be a tremendous example of the power of an attitude.

ced2b354801715755d89c302084d7f59

1620390_238070919709209_515624865_n

ff-quote-for-the-day-fall

 
Mothers, know how very special you are. You are the essence, the heart of your home. Your smile lightens the burdens, your words brighten the hearts of those who will be part of your festivities. The tone of this special family time is set by you! We, as mothers, are privileged to have such an important part in the making of our homes! May your day be filled with grace and love! -Finer Femininity

A beautiful way to deepen your Advent experience…for yourself and your family. The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal available here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/539075509/the-catholic-mothers-traditional-advent?ref=shop_home_active_2

Advent Package Special! The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal & Celine’s Advent! Available here.