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!

Stop and pray

Have you ever had a moment when you felt something pulling at you. You are in the middle of something, but deep down inside you feel the need, the calling, to stop and pray. Never ignore that!

Today wasn’t my best parenting day. More yelling and arguing than I would have liked. Fights over having soothers (she’s two, and still hooked on it, but house rule is it’s only for sleeping!), where to sit at the table for lunch, eating lunch, and of course arguments over toys. Most of these instances were fairly typical in our house, and I don’t usually let them get under my skin, but today they did.

After I got the kids settled down for their naps, I sat and ate about 7 cookies. Chocolate covered digestive cookies are a weakness of mine. Sadly I didn’t feel any better afterwards. I turned the tv on hoping to just “veg out” and forget about my bad mood, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. Every channel I flipped to had a story of someone who was going through something tragic. Something actually worth being upset about. Me, I was grouchy because my daughter didn’t want to sit in her seat at lunch…I stopped what I was doing that very second to pray.

I gave thanks for the blessed life that I have.

I asked for forgiveness for the words I spoke in anger to my children.

I prayed for the courage and grace to be the mother that I know I can be, and that I know He wants me to be.

When I was finished, of course I felt a million times better. But it also hit me at that moment; I couldn’t remember the last time I stopped to pray. I pray with my kids before bed, and before each meal, but I hadn’t been praying on my own, either before I went to bed or randomly throughout the day. Was this the true source of my grumpiness? Most likely. I have been so tired and drained from this pregnancy, and going to bed early most nights, that I guess I just stopped…I fell out of it way to easily, but thankfully, it’s even easier to start back up again.

Have you prayed today?

Have you felt Him calling you? Never ignore His call.

 

Dynamic Women of Faith Conference – April 12th in Toronto

I never understood the excitement that I read from other bloggers who attended conferences. That was, of course, until I attended one myself. I never went to a blogger conference, or one that was required by my job, but I did attend a truly inspiring Catholic one last year: The Dynamic Women of Faith Conference.

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I’m talking about sitting in a room full of kindred hearts. Like minded women of all ages, sharing their Catholic faith, listening to incredible speakers, praying, and occasionally breaking into song. It was a truly inspiring day, hosted and organized by a very inspiring woman, Dorothy Pilarski. Dorothy is an incredible woman, she lives her Catholic faith out loud and very proud of it! She writes on her own blog Gutsy Catholic Mom, also over at the Catholic Register. She is the author of Motherhood Matters (one of my favourite books, and one that has really led me to explore my Catholic faith more) as well as a children’s book. She is a professional public speaker, and helps women start mothers groups in their Parish with her Salt and Light TV series Mothering – Full of Grace. That really is quite the resume! And not only do you hear her speak at the conference, she finds some incredible men and women to speak as well.

Past years, speakers have included bloggers, TV personalities, priests, and mothers. This year there will be two keynote speakers, and I couldn’t be more excited as they are two of my favourites: Lisa Hendey and Michael Coren!

I’m sure you have heard of Lisa, and if not, perhaps you have heard of Catholicmom.com (one of my favourite websites!)?! Lisa Hendey is the founder of Catholicmom.com and author of The Handbook for Catholic Moms. She is going to talk about how saints can strengthen us during our spiritual journey. I love learning about new saints, and how they can help me, so this talk sounds fantastic! She is flying all the way from California for the conference, and will also be speaking at the mother/daughter evening on April 11th.

If you are a Catholic/Conservative in Canada, you may have heard of Micheal Coren. My husband and I both love his TV show on the Sun News Network, The Arena. He is an award winning columnist, radio host, and best selling author as well (we have several of his books!). He is going to talk about his personal journey of faith and how he deepened his relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m afraid I may be a bit star struck when I see him.

There are also so many other great speakers going to be at this event. Registration is now open, and Dorothy told me I was actually the first to register! Can you tell I’m excited about this event?! The first ten to register will receive a gift too. Please stop by the website for more information, Dynamic Women of Faith. Even if you can’t attend, maybe you know someone who would like to go, so please share this with others as well. It is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Saturday April 12th at the International Plaza Hotel. I hope to see you there!

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Below are links to the PDF files of the Brochure, feel free to view them and share them!

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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 🙂