Friday, October 24, 2014

7QT (Vol. 106): A Well-Ordered Environment

I took a Myers-Briggsish online quiz earlier this week to confirm what I already know: I'm introverted, driven by data rather than emotion, respectful of laws and traditions, and "extremely well-organized and methodical." Maybe a bit too much so.

Don't get me wrong, there is definitely value to this. My friends are astounded by how thoroughly both of my kids will clean up, being certain each toy goes in its designated area. I just say OCD has a genetic component.
Though there are 5 things out of place in this picture alone,
so it's not like I'm crazy about it... right?

I'm also good at proofreading, knowing where items are in the house, and keeping the kids' clothes (past, current, and future sizes) well-organized. Being excruciatingly organized made school and work more efficient, too.

But then there are things I can't let go. Somehow in the past month, two of the teaspoons from our flatware set disappeared. And a mismatched one appeared. It's like there's a little imp out there getting great pleasure out of seeing me count the teaspoons every time I put away the flatware, hoping the wanderers have returned.

And the light switches. We have a few lights with two switches, both of which share switch plates with other switches... And there is no way to have all the switches down at the same time while the lights are off. C'mon electricians, how hard would that have been to do for me?

For obvious reasons, I am a fan of buying a series of books from the same publisher. They look so peaceful all lined up in order at the same height. I recently bought a set of books from Mary Fabyan Windeatt (who is an amazing author). In addition to looking forward to great books, I was happy about acquiring another matched set. Then this arrived:
Why, TAN Books, why?! What thoughtless person is in charge of determining book height?! It is a testimony to how well-written these books are that they are allowed to stay on a display shelf. ;-)

If you were simultaneously nodding and cringing in sympathy as you read this post, please check out this beautiful collection of images, The 31 Most Pleasurable Things That Have Ever Happened. You're welcome.

7 Quick Takes is hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Happy first feast of John Paul the Great!

Totally yours

My mom took the kids and I to Mass and out to lunch today, a great way to celebrate the first feast day of John Paul the Great. Given a lack of battery in my camera and the difficulties of getting pictures off my dumb-phone, I'll leave you with some advice from that holy man in lieu of cute photos. :-)

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, 
but in having the right to do what we ought.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sorrowful Mysteries

I explained these Mysteries today to Peter (in an age-appropriate manner). His face grew very solemn as he thought of each one, so I concluded by reminding him that Jesus didn't stay dead. Immediately he flashed a brilliant smile and triumphantly exclaimed, "He came back! And He is all better!" We are an Easter people; hallelujah is our song!

Agony in the Garden
He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
I trust in the mercy of God, knowing that my sins necessitated Jesus' passion and death. Furthermore, knowledge of my sins injured Him far more than the intense physical suffering He endured. I am grateful that God loves me enough to suffer on my behalf. May my heart always remain sensitive to my sins, that I do not callously hurt my Savior.

Scourging at the Pillar
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
As often as I meditate on this, I cannot fathom that God would submit to physical abuse. With a single command, He could have ended not only the torture but the lives of the torturers. And yet, He accepted our violence and redeemed us through it.

Crowning with Thorns
[The soldiers] clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him. They knelt before him in homage. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him.
So often I feel the need to prove myself, defend my credentials, and win an argument. But Jesus, who had every right to defend Himself, did nothing. He did not perform a great miracle to convince them. He didn't respond with taunts of His own. He simply allowed them to pour insults and abuse on Him as His heart broke.

Carrying the Cross
So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.
For this Mystery and the next, I reflect on a different event on each Hail Mary, as follows:
1. Jesus is given His cross
2. Jesus falls the first time
3. Jesus meets His mother
4. Simon helps Jesus carry the cross
5. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
6. Jesus falls the second time
7. The women of Jerusalem weep over Jesus
8. Jesus falls the third time
9. Jesus is stripped of his garments
10. Jesus refuses the drugged wine

The Crucifixion
Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take. ... The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left. Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
1. Jesus is nailed to the cross
2. "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."
3. Jesus is mocked by the crowd
4. Jesus entrusts His mother and John to each other
5. "Amen I say to you, this day you will be with Me in paradise."
6. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
7. "I thirst."
8. "Into Your hands I commend My spirit."
9. "It is finished."
10. Jesus dies on the cross.

Friday, October 17, 2014

7QT (Vol. 105): Good News People

Shauna - who is quite rather pregnant, mother of two youngsters, and just moved into an old homestead seriously in need of cleaning - took an hour out of her day to go visit a mother at the hospital. You may remember her from last week's prayer requests; she was admitted with health complications. She gave birth via C-section to a bitty but healthy baby boy earlier this week. Anyway, this mother was in the NICU during the entirety of Shauna's visit, but she was not at all irritated. She was simply glad to know the mother was getting the support she needed to breastfeed her new baby.

Jaime launched another Livefitmama challenge this week, including an optional Level 2 this time. She has made such positive changes in the lives of so many women and their families through this program! I'm proud to know her in real life. :-)

Tanya volunteered to bring homemade scones as a snack next week. This might not seem like a big deal to you, but that's because you have never eaten these scones. You would never again be content with what grocery stores pass off as scones.

Nathan drove well over an hour to cheer up a friend who'd had a terrible day at work. While out at the bar, he also paid for his friend's meal and my lemonade with the excuse, "It just seemed easier for me to pay for everything." Wouldn't want people to know he was a good guy at heart.

Dorina, as always, has been filling our newsfeeds and chat windows with laughter and reasons to praise God. Such a breath of fresh air! Everything she posts is guaranteed to at least make you smile.

Fr. Michael spoke inspiringly on Ephesians 1, reminding us of the joy of our salvation. We come to Confession not to focus on our failures, but for God to fill us with His love.

So next time you are overwhelmed by the monumental evil in the world, remember the good souls out there living the Good News one day at a time. And take courage, for He has overcome the world!

7 Quick Takes hosted at Conversion Diary

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Autumn in Our Home

Fall placemats! And a basket of apples!
You can also see red and orange blankets in the living room.

Please note the leaf and dandelion in vases, courtesy of my children

They also gathered all the leaves for this

Peter slicing apples to make his first dinner for us

Baked apple pancake - delicious!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Luminous Mysteries

If I had to identify a theme of the Luminous Mysteries, it would be obedience. This is a virtue I am pursuing currently, so maybe that's theme I hear because it's what I need to hear. Anyway, here are my reflections on these mysteries.

The Baptism of Jesus
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Through His baptism, Jesus sanctified the waters of baptism. Where He leads, there we should follow. As a baptized member of the body of Christ, I am also called to ministry. My baptism began my commission. May I always hear God's call to be His beloved child.

The Wedding Feast at Cana
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
May I recognize Mary's role in making our needs known to Jesus and trust in her intercession. Similarly, may I always believe in Jesus' care for our daily needs, even things that seem spiritually inconsequential. Jesus changes our water into wine, into excellent wine, when we follow His mother's admonition to do whatever He tells us.

The Proclamation of the Kingdom
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
Again, I am called to ministry. The Spirit gives different gifts, but each is expected to participate in the proclamation of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, but still so many do not see it. As Jesus poured Himself into public ministry, may I also give all I have to answer my calling, remembering always to make prayer my priority.

The Transfiguration
Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. ... Behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”
Here are two commands: listen to Jesus and do not be afraid. If only I could follow such simple commands! May I strive always to give myself completely to the Christ, who is both almighty God and gentle, loving shepherd.

The Institution of the Eucharist
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Take and eat. Drink from it. I am both body and soul, so my Lord comes to me both physically and spiritually. May I never become complacent in receiving the Eucharist, but continue to stand in awe of One who loves me that much.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

7 Quick Prayer Requests

For a mother of two with a third on the way. She is 32 weeks pregnant and was hospitalized tonight with preeclampsia and other health complications. Medical staff want her to deliver within the next four days. Please pray for a healthy baby and a quick, full recovery for the mother.

For a friend of mine expecting her seventh. Please pray that her announcement is met with the joy befitting such news! I am sure she will encounter naysayers and critics, so pray that their hearts may be turned to accept full openness to life. If they meet her other six, they will certainly understand why she and her husband want more!

For two of my closest friends who are pregnant. One has a baby in Heaven whom she never met, so this pregnancy has been a time to learn to trust in God. The other has a host of practical decisions to make with the arrival of this child. Pray for discernment for her and a continued strengthening of the relationship between her and her husband.

For those who have turned away from the Church, that they might come home and be met joyfully.

For those who have turned away from God, that their hearts will be open to the people and situations God brings them in His desire to hold them again.

That the world would trust and celebrate the fathomless divine mercy. Where sin abounds, so much more does God's grace!

For the unemployed, underemployed, and those suffering in their current employment, that all might find meaningful work that honors their dignity as human beings.

7 Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary