A Surprise Prayer to melt your heart

Life has been busy, but I promise I have posts about Apps for Catholics and a write up about the Dynamic Women of Faith conference…but for now, I just have a little story to share.

Today while out running errands with my 2.5 year old daughter, we were nearing the end of our journey, and about to head back to my son’s school to pick him up. As I buckled her up in her car seat, she clasped her hands together and closed her eyes; “Please let there be no dog poop at the school yard. Amen.” As she opened her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed she was praying for no more dog poop at the school, just like how she prayer for her lost soother to be found a few months ago.

I must also say when she says dog poop, she really means mud (she calls all mud dog poop), and she wanted the mud to be gone so she could play on the hill in the school yard with the big kids.

I just love that she prayed for this, instead of just saying something like “I hope the mud is all gone”. Praying at bedtime sure is paying off!

One week in…

…so how is it going? Have you forgotten what you gave up and did it/ate it by mistake yet? I’ve seen some tweets and posts about messing up after only a few days, and if that’s you, it’s ok! Don’t beat yourself up if you did, it’s not a total fail, just take a step back, pray, and start again fresh tomorrow!

I like to replace what I’m giving up with something. This year I have given up raising my voice/yelling at my kids. It’s forcing me to stay calm, be more patient, and not just jump to conclusions and yell as my first instinct. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to just stop doing something like that (did I mention how tired and emotional I am from being pregnant, and how much my kids love to whine and fight over just about everything?), every time I yell I have to say a Hail Mary. That forced me to calm right down, and remove myself from whatever the situation was that caused me to raise my voice. It’s been working like a charm! Day one I said 3 Hail Mary’s, and since then I have only had to say one or two here and there! My husband even complimented me last night how great I was doing, and how nice it was to not have me loosing my cool so much. It’s kind of embarrassing…but I know you won’t judge me right? And I would much rather focus on the great side of this; me being a more patient mother who is also a much better listener!

The other thing that we give up each and every Lent are the sweets and treats. And since Sunday’s don’t count, my husband stopped by Tim Horton’s on Sunday and picked up some Timbits for us all. They were delicious, especially after a week of no sweets! We also had brownies and ice cream for dessert that night…I was very tempted to like my plate, but I restrained myself. My son has also been really great with this one. I thought for sure he would be asking for a treat all the time, but he had no problem with the treats in the house being put away in our cold storage until Easter! He was also keeping his little sister in line at the grocery store today, announcing “no treats during Lent!” anytime her eyes strayed to a yummy chocolate snack.

I hope you aren’t stressing too much if you have fallen off your Lenten path. There is still plenty of time to get back to it and have a great turnout!

Just one week away

Have you given Lent any thought yet? My husband and I have been throwing ideas around for a couple days now, I just can’t decided what to give up/take up for those 40 days. The standard one in our house are “treats”; candies, chocolates, chips, pop, takeout…all those yummy extras you don’t really need, and shouldn’t be eating regularly anyways. My husband and I also give up one other thing that is more specific, and usually take up something as well, here are a few ideas that we have done in the past, in case you need some ideas:

Give up:

– video games

– TV

– social media

– caffeine (my husband did this when I was pregnant with our son, sort of as a personal challenge for himself and supporting me in my caffeine free 9 months)

– shopping (not for necessities, but new clothes, home decor stuff, items you don’t *need*)

– swearing

– yelling (this might be topping my list this year. I gave up swearing one year and it finally broke that bad habit for good…perhaps this Lent will make me a better mother who doesn’t yell anymore)

Take up:

– the Bible (ok, maybe not all of it, but a few pages a day would be great!)

– other Catholic books

– volunteer

– going to Mass an extra day each week

Of course we will also be attending Mass on Ash Wednesday, abstaining from meat on all Fridays (which we do all year round anyways), and my husband will be fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (I’m pregnant, so I don’t have to do that one this year). Confession is also a must for us during Lent, our Parish usually hosts a large event with priests from other parishes, making it easy and accessible for everyone. And maybe I will even cover our crosses with purple fabric this year as well.

I would love to hear about your family’s traditions surrounding Lent. It seems so many people have family traditions for Advent and Christmas, but not as many for Lent and Easter. We go big when it comes to Easter, just as we do for Christmas. Presents, egg hunts, brunch at our house with my family, Mass, and dinner with my in-laws. So I like to make Lent just as significant as Advent. My son has been asking more questions this year, and we are more than happy to talk to him about it all, so I feel like some activities for the kids this year will be a must! Perhaps making the rosary a weekly or even daily thing will happen, as my son is a little obsessed with it right now (couldn’t have a better interest!), maybe a count down of some sort as well, just as we do for Advent. Oh I see lots of pins happening on Pinterest this week!

New Reading Material…and the big announcement

So, things have been quiet around here, and on twitter, so a little while. I sure do have my reasons. While I have been busy playing with my kids, learning to crochet, baking, and just enjoying our blessed little family, I have also been reading some new books!

I know there of lots of you out there that just love a good Catholic book, and boy do I have two great ones for you:

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Can you make out those titles? The first is Prayerfully Expecting by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle. The second is A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy by Sarah A. Reinhard.

So I bet you guessed the big announcement, huh? I’m pregnant! We are so truly blessed, and thrilled beyond words to welcome our third child this summer!

So far I have beel feeling downright awful, which I expected since that is how I felt with the other two. These books have been such a saving grace, reminding that this baby is a true blessing and gift from God. Remembering that while I throw up for the 5th time that day is very comforting. It’s all for a great cause, and as hard as it can be on my body, I really do love being pregnant!

I hope you will pray for me and my baby as we continue this journey. Saint Gerard sure has been hearing an awful lot from me lately 🙂

Courage

Have you ever prayed for something very very specific, and had it happen?

For months now I have been praying for courage for my son. My shy little guy, who had a bit of a struggle adjusting to school. Going into class on his own, doing this automatically, joining in the fun and games and songs. He was not willing to allow himself to have fun or accept that this was his day to day life now. It was so hard on all of us, as no parent wants to see their child struggle. And it’s even worse when you have to take your crying kid into class and leave him there.

I wasn’t even sure that courage was the right word, or the right thing to be praying for. I didn’t want him to be so shy, I wanted him to allow himself to have fun, to participate in the class activities, and to listen to his teacher. Courage was the only word that kept popping into my head when I would get on my knees at night and pray.

But little by little he has gotten better. He now has fun at school. He’s made lots of great friends, and actually leaves school smiling each day. My prayers had been answered, but I didn’t really know it, and I hadn’t even given it much thought, other than be so happy for my son.

It wasn’t until last Friday that it really hit me. We received a phone call from my son’s teacher. She wanted to tell us that she had picked him to receive an award at school. Each month the school picks a different virtue that it focuses on, and at the end of the month, a student is picked from each class that has shown that virtue all month long. It’s written at the bottom of each month on the school calendar, I usually glance at it but don’t really pay much attention to it. The virtue for January? Yup, courage. She said she knew she just had to pick him for courage, because he has done so well this last little while, and has been so courageous in joining in and doing things on his own. To say I got teary eyed would be an understatement.

Answered Prayers 🙂

History of the Candy Cane

Wow, my last post was nearly 2 weeks ago! Sorry about that, guess we have been busy enjoying our Advent! This Christmas has been truly wonderful so far, and we haven’t even reached the big day yet! Both my kids are so into it, and so excited with the count down! We’ve been baking, and wrapping, and singing carols. We have also been praying. We have done a family rosary a few times, and my son even requested it one night when we weren’t planning on it. I think that’s a pretty major win in the parenting column of life!

We have also been trying to stay warm! Southern Ontario (where we live) as well as many other parts of Canada, and the US too, were hit by a major ice storm this weekend. Our power has been coming and going all day! We did still make it to Mass, as the main roads weren’t bad, but it took my wonderful husband a very long time to clear the van off! Nearly an inch of ice coats everything; it is both beautiful and so very dangerous. Trees are down all over, including several large ones blocking one end of our street. Thankfully, in all the out and abouts today, I didn’t see any accidents, or trees on houses or cars….but there was plenty of that in other parts! My parents live just around the corner, but on a different power grid, and had no power for over 14 hours today! Thankfully they have a gas range, and were able to cook food and bowl water.

Now on to the real reason I am writing on this chilly and icy Sunday evening. Do you know the history of the candy cane? No not that blueberry flavour one, or the root beer flavoured one, but the classic red and white one?! Rumour has it, that it is in fact a Christian treat, so I thought I would share the bits and pieces of the rumoured history of that delicious little peppermint cane.

I first came across the idea of this when I saw a Pin (on Pinterest) with the cane upside down saying it was a J for Jesus, with a little poem attached. I thought that was kinda silly, but cute, and that started me wondering about what the actual story was behind the candy cane. There are several different stories out there, but the one that came up the most, was that it was a treat developed by a candy maker to give to kids to keep them quiet during the Christmas concerts on at his local Church. To make it acceptable with the parents, to be giving candy to the kids, he made the treat shaped like a cane to represent a shepherd’s staff, because Jesus is our shepherd. He coloured it white to represent Jesus being pure, and red for the blood he shed for us to live. Some stories go as far as to say that the original canes with the thick red line and three thinner red lines represent Jesus’ wounds from being whipped. And that the peppermint flavour was inspired by the flavour of hyssop that was popular when Jesus was alive.

I found all this so fascinating. Something that seems so ordinary, and secular, has a Christian history! And quite a funny one at that. I wonder how many heads would turn if I pulled out a bag of candy canes and handed them out to all the little kids during Mass…

My husband also visited our local Catholic Book Store, and they had a box of candy canes by the cash, selling them for 25 cents each, and they had this little story attached to them! So maybe more people knew about this than I thought. Did you?! So next time you share a candy cane with your child, a family member, or even a stranger, share this little tale with them! Spread His good word, and keep Christ in Christmas.

history of the candy cane

Our Advent Wreath

Joining another link up today, this time over at Catholic Mom. Today we are sharing pictures of our Advent Wreaths! I love seeing how different they are, from something very simple (like ours), too much more elaborate and decorative ones.

He is our simple Advent wreath. It sits on our kitchen table, and we light it each night before dinner and say the corresponding prayer for that week. The kids love to see who gets to blow the candles out after dinner; usually that task is awarded to the child who sat and ate nicely, without argument…which means sometimes mommy just gets to do it!

advent wreath

Stop by the linkup party to see all the beautiful wreaths, and join the linkup!