Monday, March 25, 2019

The Reluctant Yes

Who doesn't love a Solemnity during Lent??

Today the Church celebrates the Annunciation.
"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 
He will be great, and will be called the son of the Most High; 
and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 
and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; 
and of his kingdom there will be no end"
....And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; 
let it be to me according to your word."
Luke 1:30-33,38

Mary's yes was not a "maybe", or an "I guess if you can't find anyone else...", or an "If I have to!" with a sigh and an eye roll.  She gave of herself completely...body, mind and soul. Mary's yes was a perfect yes. 

My own 'yeses' to God often sound more like a reluctant yes.

There are so many small yeses in everyday life. Take today for instance. Monday is my day off and usually I drop off the kids at school and then head to church for about 40 minutes of prayer/reading time before Mass. This week I even had breakfast with a friend planned for after Mass, followed by a couple of errands before heading home to do some cleaning and writing.

Well, Luke had a fever all day yesterday so that meant 'Plan B' for me today. My yes this morning was to hang out with my little guy and take care of him. It was a yes to movies, being together, and reminding him to rest, drink lots of water, and cough into his elbow(!). Instead of quiet and alone time, God asked me to serve Him through my youngest son.

We all have lots of opportunities to say a small yes every single day. Yes to serve by getting lunches and snacks together each morning. Yes to remaining patient when the gym uniform is missing. Yes to showing compassion to grumpy customers or coworkers. Yes to giving love through a smile for your spouse as he walks through the door amidst chaos. Yes to generosity as you drive your kids to games or practices. Yes to a bedtime story or a request for water after you've finally sat down and just want to shut off for the day. Yes to middle of the night wake up calls because of bad dreams...and climbing bunk bed ladders and squishing into a twin bed in uncomfortable positions so your child can fall back to sleep and not feel scared and alone.

All those little yeses might seem unimportant, but they aren't. They are a continual giving of ourselves. It's our way of reaffirming to God that I will serve...even when it's inconvenient, even when I'm tired, even when it's my Plan B...or C or D or Z!

And thankfully, God even gives me grace for the times that my yes sounds reluctant! God even gives me grace when my first response isn't a yes at all but then I work through whatever it is that's keeping me from being open to His will. Yes to letting God into our hearts always bears fruit.

Banner, Yes, No, Decision, Choice, Choose, Decide
We aren't the only ones struggling with the yes/no battle on a daily basis. Even the saints had to practice! Take St.Teresa of Avila, who is not only a Saint but a Doctor of the Church as well.  In Fire Within, Fr. Thomas Dubay writes, "Yet Teresa had her faults for saints are not born out of the blue. They are weighed down with the same weak human nature we all have, and they experience the same temptations. The difference is that they say a complete Yes to the healing grace God offers to everyone, whereas most of us say 'maybe', or 'somewhat' or 'wait a while...not yet.'"
(emphasis mine)

Saying yes takes practice. God gives us lots of opportunities to say yes in the little things so that we will be ready to say yes in the bigger things He needs us to do.

Where is God asking you to say "yes" to Him today?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Just Let Go

Have you ever struggled to focus on the big picture when God is trying to get your attention? I know I have.. and I'm not the only one. Even the apostles had a hard time. The feeding of the 4000 and the feeding of the 5000 were two of the amazing miracles that the apostles were witnesses to. They saw Jesus act in big ways and they still got stuck focusing on the little things. In Mark 8:14-21, Jesus is trying to teach the apostles about some deep spiritual truths. "Beware of the leaven of the pharisees"(Mark 8:15) - and all the apostles can focus on is the fact that they only have one loaf of bread between them.

I'm super excited to be a contributing author at Catholic! Click here to read the rest of my post to see my own personal example of how holding on too tightly to the details kept me from seeing the bigger picture God was trying to show me.

Monday, March 4, 2019

When Our Mother Reaches Down To Us

I gave one of my sons the game, Bananagrams, for Christmas and it became an obsession for some of us. We've played over 100 times since Christmas day, including a “Bananagrams Madness” tournament at our little New Year's Eve gathering. (I admit that I am one of the people that look forward to playing whenever someone else is willing. Scrabble has always been one of my favorite games and Banangrams is similar with a quicker pace!)
Keeping on the topic of favorite things, one of my favorite feast days recently passed; Our Lady of Lourdes. Growing up, I really didn't learn much about the saints despite attending Catholic elementary school. It wasn't until I was a young adult that I started to read more about my faith, which included the lives of the saints.
             About 21 years ago and only about 2 years after my reversion...I am a cradle Catholic who, beyond going to Mass on Sundays, didn't really have a relationship with God until I was about husband, Jay, was going through a rough time with his first of three grad school clinicals. He had been placed in a setting where his supervisor was unprofessional and had an issue with men. It was a very negative atmosphere and a very stressful time. At the time of the clinical, we had three little boys under 5 and I was pregnant with our first daughter. I was working part time and really worried about Jay and everything he was going through. 

.....Today my post is being featured on Catholic Sistas!! I'm really excited for this opportunity to be a contributor! Just click here to head over and read the rest of my story!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Friday...With A Side Of Laughter

Linking up with Kelly today for 7 Quick Takes

I haven't done He said/She said for a while and I have some good ones. What better way to end the week than with a laugh?? So without further ado...

He Said/She Said

Luke(9): Mom, can someone say no when they ask her to marry him?
Me: Yes, but usually if someone asks to marry a person they've talked about it already.
Pa: Are you going to ask someone to marry you, Luke?
Luke: NO!! Jon and Marisa are getting married. You know..they are stuck with each other!!
Everyone: hahahahaha

Jay and Kate were having some special daddy/daughter time:
Kate(7): Can we go to Dunkin?
Jay: Sure
Kate: Can we go in and sit and eat so you can do your specialty?
Jay: What's my specialty?
Kate: Talking!

After watching the Puss in Boots cartoon:
Kate: Onions make you not always eat onions!
Me: Absolutely!

Kate: Can you help me get a cup, please?
Me: Of course.
Kate:(stretching her hands towards the cabinet) But I can almost reach!
Me: I're getting so big! Can you please stop growing so fast!?!
Kate: I can't...that's the way life works, Mom.

Last weekend, at dinner on his birthday:
Jon(23): Ok, we are going to play a game. We are going to go around the table and everyone says one thing that they are grateful for....
(long pause)
Jon: ...about me

My husband, Jay, was looking up ringtones while I ran into the grocery store. Kate was sitting in the car with him.
Jay:(listening to different Ironman ringtones with Jarvis speaking the words...if you aren't familiar with Jarvis, say the words in a "British butler" voice.)
Jarvis: "Sir, your wife is on the phone. Shall I put her through?"
Jarvis: "Sir, your wife is on the phone and she does not sound amused."
Jarvis: "Sir, your girlfriend is on the phone"...
Jay: NO, Kate, NO!!! I don't!! It's just the ringtone!
(Can you imagine Kate going to school and spreading that story?!? yikes!)

On the way to school:
Luke: Dad, my fingerprints are different on each one of my fingers!
Jay: Yes, and your fingerprints are different from everyone else in the whole world! God loves you so much he even paid attention to the details to make sure that the invisible swirly patterns on your fingers are special to only you! Think of how different the love in your heart is that only you can give!
Luke: Dad, if you were a priest I bet you would say that in a homily.
Jay:(smiling) Well, if I was a priest you wouldn't be here.
Kate: Really??
Jay: Yes, but even before God made the dinosaurs He knew that He would make you and that you would be a part of our family.
Kate: WOW! God knew that before He made the dinosaurs?
Jay: Yup...that's how special you are and how much He loves you.
Kate: Wow! God waited all this time to make me so I wouldn't be eaten by dinosaurs!

Hope you all enjoy your dinosaur free weekend!