- It’s been a busy few weeks around our household, caused largely by Bonita’s musical debut. As I knew she would, she has enjoyed every moment of rehearsals and performances, though she was a bit thrown at Friday night’s performance. Much of her singing and dancing is done in the aisle. Proud Mama thought she had chosen the perfect seat. Unfortunately, I was one row in front of her. Poor thing tried to half turn to me, her #1 fan, and half turn toward the rest of the audience. Fortunately, I was able to get the perfect seat in the second act, and she performed beautifully when the confusion was removed.
- The Dude has kept us busy as well, playing basketball in two separate leagues. Despite his diminutive height, he was a key player on both teams and had great seasons with both. Next up, Little League Baseball and yet another basketball team. I do wonder why we do this to ourselves, but they have so much fun and it keeps them off of electronic devices for a few hours without any fuss.
- In other Dude news, His Coolness got new glasses: He only takes them off to sleep and to cuddle…
- Bear turned 5 a few weeks ago. His birthday list became a great source of both amusement and frustration, as he continuously came to me saying, “Oh, Mommy, and I want…” completing the sentence with yet another train-related item. In a rare moment of ingenuity, I turned this to my favor and started writing several things down in dashed letters, telling him that, until he traced them, they weren’t on the list. He hates handwriting, so this was an excellent opportunity! I also had him sound a few of the words out, as you may be able to guess:
- Bonita had a birthday recently as well, turning seven. Sadly, her rehearsal schedule was so hectic at the time that we had to postpone any major celebrations till March. However, we did manage to achieve a little “wow” factor…
- Of course, Boo has continued to wreak havoc any time she’s left alone for more than two minutes. In the past few weeks, she’s cut her hair, had petroleum jelly a quarter inch thick on her hands, unrolled a full roll of toilet paper mostly into the toilet (the toilet already had something in there, if you know what I mean), and decided to create a new bedroom by emptying the books from the armoire in the living room.
- Lastly, I got me some new glasses too. What’dya think?(Yes, I am goofy enough to take a picture of myself trying on eye glasses so I can get a “third person” view.)
Last year, a friend shared the Litany of Humility with me. I bookmarked it on my phone and pray it often. Two nights ago, @wearethesalt1 shared this video on Twitter, featuring Danielle Rose’s musical version of the Litany – something I hadn’t known existed. I’m enthralled and had to share.
I know that I greatly benefit from the Litany’s reminder as to what’s most important, and whose approval and love I should seek. I can’t imagine there are many souls alive who wouldn’t benefit from praying this prayer on a regular basis. Having it in song, on my iTunes playlist, makes it much easier to pray these beautiful words daily – or more than daily, as I have for the past two days!
Here are the words to the prayer, courtesy of EWTN.com:
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…
One of Bishop Coyne’s New Year’s Resolutions was
“To be meek but not milquetoast.”
It may seem odd that this is the topic for my Valentine’s Day post. Bishop Coyne probably intended these words to be applied to our spiritual life – our willingness to be obedient to God and to stand up for what we believe in, in a loving, non-violent way.
But I find that, at this juncture in my life, where I most need work on being “meek but no milquetoast” is in my day-to-day relationship with my husband.
You see, Ray and I are both a bit bull-headed. Both of us were the baby in our families, both accustomed to getting our way and being a little bit catered to. We’re both strong-willed, quick to speak, and slow to back down.
And so here’s where the “meek but not milquetoast” bit has begun to sunk in with me.
Sometimes Ray says things that I don’t appreciate. Things that make me feel undervalued, unappreciated, and more than just a little ticked off. Once he’s said it, he’s not going to take it back, and he’s certainly not going to apologize.
I’d like to give him a piece of my mind, reminding him of all the wonderful things I do, that I work late into the night folding clothes and cleaning the house. I want to inform him that he gets to sleep while I clean up vomit, stroke backs and hold back hair. Yet…
“A gracious wife delights her husband,
her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones;
A gift from the LORD is her governed speech,
And her firm virtue is of surpassing worth.”
There are times when he does things that I disagree with, or that I find annoying. I’d like to tell him exactly what I think of his actions. But…
“[Your adornment should] be in the imperishable beauty of a
gentle and calm disposition,
which is precious in the sight of God.”
(1 Pet 3:4)
So this is when I need to be “meek but not milquetoast.” This is when I need to bite my tongue and pick my battles.
My mom used to always ask me, “Stephanie, is that really a mountain you want to die on?”
The fact of the matter is, there aren’t really many mountains I want to die on.
That’s my gift to my Valentine this year. A more peaceful wife, a more peaceful home… All because I can choose to be meek, though I will never be milquetoast.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs at the days to come.”
The wind outside my office window is howling, and likewise the winds of change are blowing strong within the Catholic Church.
Funny, when I read yesterday’s Gospel (Luke 5:1-11), where Jesus tells Simon (Peter) to put out into the deep and cast his nets, I was thinking about how Christ sometimes calls us to do what seems crazy, ludicrous, and shocking. Yet, we do it, in answer to His call.
Now the leader of Christ’s Church, the new Peter, has taken an action that shocks the world. The first pope to resign his papacy in 600 years. Surely much will be said in the days to come.
There’s a lot of banter going back and forth on Facebook and Twitter. One string has people lamenting how very sad it is.
Maybe I’m backwards, maybe I’m crazy, maybe I haven’t been Catholic long enough to really “get it”. I don’t know. But I don’t see this as sad.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Pope Benedict. The children and I pray for him every morning on our way to school. I love listening to his homilies, and have greatly enjoyed what I’ve read of his writings. He has been a wonderful leader for the past eight years, my formative years in the Faith. I had been Catholic for one week when JPII passed away, so Pope Benedict is really the only Pope I’ve ever known.
But, to me, him leaving his post is just part of the cycle of life. He’s a servant of God, and I’m sure he’s put more prayer and meditation into this decision than most of us will put into all the decisions we make in our lifetimes. He is following Christ’s call, a call back to Him.
For a man of God, an opportunity to take up his cross and follow Christ is a blessing. As the Pope takes up the cross of aging, pain, and discomfort each day, Christ provides him with an opportunity to become more like his hero, his idol, Jesus himself.
He’s done wonderful things during his pontificat, and I find it beautiful that he’s leaving us during this Year of Faith which he initiated, a year where I see awesome things happening within the Church all around us.
Now, he goes to spend his remaining days in prayer, allowing another of Christ’s disciples to fill the role of Bishop of Rome.
In the weeks to come, my family will pray this prayer, adapted from the Pope’s own words this morning:
Lord Jesus Christ, we entrust the Holy Church to your care as Our Supreme Pastor. We implore your holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff.
We pray for Pope Benedict, that his final days may be spent devotedly serving the Holy Church of God through a life dedicated to prayer. We pray also that you may fortify and strengthen him in his suffering, as he takes up his cross and follows you.
Likewise, we pray for everyone in the Church, that we may devote ourselves to prayer and that we would readily accept our own crosses, so that we may be more like you, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Image courtesy www.wikimediacommons.com. Love the shoes.
This afternoon I asked Boo if she wanted to go play at her friend’s house tomorrow. Her response:
Me: Yes, you.
Boo: And Bear?
Me: Yes, Bear too.
Boo: And Bess’ed Mudder?
Me (a little taken aback): Well, you can always bring the Blessed Mother with you. (meaning, in your heart, of course!)
Boo: (pointing at Marian statuette on my desk) I bing her?
From here proceeded a lengthy exchange, during which Boo lovingly held the statuette as it became clear that she really had every intention of bringing Mary with her. I wonder what these Protestant friends would make of Boo showing up at their door with a statue of Mary?
During the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting last Sunday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg shared her insights into the “global ambition gap” between men and women.
Apparently, only 36% of women in the US identify themselves as “very ambitious.”
Ms. Sandberg points toward motherhood as the cause for this lack of ambition.
I find that very surprising, since I would identify myself – and, in fact, nearly every mother I know – as “very ambitious.”
You see, ambition is about wanting more. Never settling. Striving for the best.
(Keep in mind, there are exceptions to what you’re about to read. For instance, those times when you just want to go to the bathroom in peace, or when a baby is crying and you’re trying to have an intimate moment with your husband.)
But, for the most part, a mother always wants more.
More peels of laughter.
More boisterous giggles.
In fact, the mothers I know have great ambition…
Ambition to love.
Ambition to give, give, and then give some more.
Ambition to raise children who will serve God.
Ambition to instill values that will change the world.
Ambition to be the hands and feet of Christ in raising saints.
Ambition to someday hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
But I suppose Ms. Sandberg is not referring to this type of “ambition.” She is referring to the ambition for success in the business world. Ambition for the next promotion, the next raise, more recognition, more power, more authority.
You got me there, Ms. Sandberg. That sort of ambition is seriously lacking in the women I know.
“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses himself?”
(“Mother and Child” by Corke, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)