Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelieving heart, so that I should recall my sins.  -Saint Patrick

Poor Saint Patrick.

One of the most well-known saints (along with Saint Nicholas and Saint Valentine) and his feast day (March 17th) has become a day of drunken debauchery in the United States.

For those of you that don’t know the story of Saint Patrick, here it is in a nutshell: Patrick was born in 387 to a Roman Christian family in Great Britain. As a teenager, he was captured by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. [Read more…]

Lenten Pilgrimage to the Mountaintop

I never lack great thoughts or ideas…just time to get them on paper (or the blog).  With that being said, I am only four days behind on getting this post up.

Two weeks into the Lenten season and my zeal was waning.  Sacrifice was supposed to make me feel optimistic and hopeful, right? Well, it should, but I wasn’t.

(And here comes the amazing part of the story…the two wonderful priests at our parish (Father Carlos and Father Humberto) write homilies just for me! Not true, but it seems so. Every week, without fail, their homily touches on my struggles that past week – no lie! And this past Sunday was no exception, but I digress.)

The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent (Luke 9:28b-36) was all about Jesus taking Peter, John, and James up the mountain to pray. As you know from the Bible, many times people are called “up the mountain” to be closer to God as He often revealed Himself on the mountain-top.  Father Carlos’ homily drew on this and told us how when he first visited our city, he was given a tour by our Archbishop. On this tour, the Archbishop took him to the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Father was struck by how the Cathedral in our town sits as the highest point in the city — almost like the Cathedral sits atop a mountain.

BOOM!

There it was…my spiritual dryness could only be cured by a trip to the mountaintop, well, a trip to the Cathedral of Saint Paul. [Read more…]

The Reality of Lent with Special Needs Children

*This is going to be a bit of a lengthy post. The first half was written last night, as a reflection on what we’ve done so far this lent. The second half was written this morning, after I realized just how difficult this season can be with special needs children. If you’d rather just skip to the honest truth about the reality of celebrating Lent with special needs children, scroll down. – Tammy*

I have to admit, I am enjoying Lent. I have observed over 40 Lenten Seasons in my life, but this year, things are finally making sense.

I am finally understanding how wonderful it feels to make more room for God, and less room for me.

I want the family to live simply and austerely for the next forty days; to grow closer to God and truly appreciate how much He has blessed our family. I already mentioned how we are abstaining from all unnecessary, material purchase.  I also want each family member to step out of his comfortable (okay, call it what it really is: disrespectful or rude) interactions with the family and take these 40 days to make conscious efforts to grow and change they way we communicate and engage with each other. [Read more…]

Ready or Not, Here Lent Comes! Little HolyDays Link Up

This year we are ready for Lent! Well, maybe.  At least we’ve talked about it more than once before Lent, instead of the day after Ash Wednesday.  So that’s a good start!  We had our usual impromptu family meeting as lunch was wrapping up this Sunday, explaining the how and why of Lent. We gave a brilliant exhortation on a call for an increase in prayer, fasting and almsgiving, which was immediately followed by (or should I say interrupted) by the myriad of ridiculous questions like “can we give up brushing our teeth?” or “can we fast on only chocolate?’

In year’s past, our Lenten journey has been of a more personal or individual nature, but this year we are creating a Family Lenten Plan. Everyone has added ways they hope to grow in faith during this season. They also offered ways the family can incorporate more prayer into our lives.

These are some of the ideas we will using in our Lenten Plan to incorporate Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving: [Read more…]

Celebrating Saint Thomas Aquinas

Just as it is better to illuminate than merely to shine, so to pass on what one has contemplated is better than merely to contemplate.

- Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Source

 

God has granted us so many gifts, yet the one gift that is oft forgotten is the gift of the Communion of Saints. This wonderful group of saints is just like us – funny, quirky, and even cranky. They made mistakes like us and had plenty of trials and tribulations. They have walked the road before and are our cheerleaders, cheering us on to cross the finish line into heaven to join them.  Celebrating life each day with the saints is celebrating life with the family God gave us; perfect patrons for every occasion and every vocation. We will never be lonely or lost with the help of our intercessors!

In our family, we turn to the saints on many occasions for help, guidance, or just a friend to cry with.  Of course, Jesus is there too, but one true and good friend never detracts from another.  Oh, you good saints of God, thank you for your help! [Read more…]

Learning How to Celebrate Advent: The Post Game Review

Before Advent even began, we wrote about how we were learning what it meant to celebrate Advent. We had our pretty Advent calendar, stocked with 24 wonderful ideas that would help us celebrate Advent meaningfully. We planned on keeping things simple, but making it meaningful by explaining the history and reasoning behind some of our new traditions. We also planned on saving the Christmas stuff for Christmas. No Christmas music, no Christmas cookies, no Christmas movies, no Christmas tree during Advent, no Christmas decorations. We also wanted to keep this season ‘green’ by making sustainable choices with our food, presents, and other traditions. Finally, we wanted to begin celebrating the Little HolyDays throughout the liturgical year, and picked Advent as the time to start. For us, this included celebrating many different Feast Days that we never had before.

So how did we do?

I am extremely proud of our efforts, and I think we truly learned what it means to celebrate Advent meaningfully. Success! Now there’s just one problem… [Read more…]

Merry Christmas: Little HolyDays Link Up

Merry Christmas, everyone! We hope you’ve enjoyed all the wonderful link ups so far, because we certainly have! This week’s link up is being hosted by Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas, so head on over there to see last week’s posts that she’s featuring. [Read more…]

Loving the Little Things: Little HolyDays Link Up

Friday’s tragedy left me speechless. I cannot even begin to process my thoughts right now. All I know is that I feel such incredible sorrow, and such incredible hope, at the same time. How? The sorrow part is easy to explain. I know we’re all feeling that way for everyone that was affected by this. The hope part is still a little confusing, even to me. I know it was sparked by Haley’s article. Somehow, deep down, even in the darkest of times, there is always hope. There is always a reason to keep trying. There is always goodness. Twenty-eight people lost their lives, but it was not in vain. [Read more…]

Little HolyDays Link Up: Second Week of Advent

Second Week of Advent

Happy Second Week of Advent! Did you check out last week’s link ups? Click here to check out all the great posts from the First Week of Advent! For more info, you can also check out our new Little HolyDays page!

This week, the Link Up is being “hosted” by Molly of Molly Makes Do. Be sure to head over there to check out the great post Molly has written (A Call to Tremble Or What Scrooge Can Teach Us About “Keeping Christ in Christmas”). This link up will be open until Thursday night, so there’s plenty of time to share how you are celebrating this second week of Advent! [Read more…]

Morning Fail: Special Needs Parenting Slip Up

Morning Fail

Simpler Times… My baby is now a 3rd grader!

Special needs parenting is rife with slip ups.

I know better. I restrained myself for a good 7 minutes. Then I let loose.

Our 14 year-old daughter struggles with a panoply of mental health issues.  Sadly, she carries with her the baggage of the early abuse and neglect she suffered before she joined our family. Most days, her behaviors and actions remind us that she still has not healed from her past – and maybe never will.

This morning was no different. She awoke on the wrong side of the bed. Things were not going her way, and she wanted to blame everyone but the real culprit – herself. My husband and I listened to her complain and blame us while we nodded and sympathized. Such is the daily requirement of special needs parenting.

On the drive to school, the tirade continued. I bit my tongue, knowing no good would come from me pointing out how her logic had failed her – how the quandary she found herself in currently was squarely because of her own actions.

But the rudeness and disrespectfulness got the best of me. [Read more…]