Luke 10:41-42

"But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.'"

Sunday, February 3, 2019

4th Sunday in Ordinary time

The second reading brought to mind a scene from Wedding Crashers where Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson are trying to guess what the readings will be for the ceremony they are attending. This one has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  When I was in college writing my entrance essay to get into the Teachers College I referenced 1 Corinthians 13.  What better way to describe the sacrifices a teacher makes?  All day long I have to make the choice to be patient and kind instead of quick tempered.  Bishop Barron's reflection on the reading was a beautiful reminder of how love is an constant abandonment of self.

When reading the verses from Jeremiah and the Responsorial Psalm I can't help but think of the recent law passed in New York.  People's opinions on both sides have been all over social media and I've had a hard time knowing how to respond outside of conversations within my own home.  I know that God's Word is true and that all life is precious and known to the Lord from the beginning.  While I cannot understand why this horror continues to be praised and legal, I know that as St. Paul writes, we only know partially but the perfect will come.  I will continue to seek God's Word to discern what it means for me to love others and sing of the Lord's refuge, hope, and justice.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Feast of the Epiphany

Growing up as an only child and the only grandchild on one side of the family for eleven years, I was always so excited when my cousins closest to my age came from Colorado back to Nebraska to visit at Christmas time.  For years we would put on little plays for everyone and one year it was the Nativity story.  I still remember as the narrator I pronounced Herod's name "Hair-odd" and my cousin correcting me on camera.  I blame my public schooling (they went to Catholic school).

As I was going through Lectio Divina on Sunday's familiar Gospel, King Herod was the one who stood out to me.  I did some research to find out more about him and why he reacted the way he did to the news from the Magi and it was fascinating to me.  According to Catholic Scripture Study International, Herod was not really a King of the Jews.  He was an Edomite, a descendant of Esau, which after his younger brother Jacob stole his birthright from him (Genesis 27), a rivalry persisted among their descendants with the Israelites.  In Numbers 24:17 & 19, the prophet Balaam predicts that "...a star shall come forth out of Jacob...Edom shall be dispossessed."  Herod already had a reputation for being a paranoid ruler, which helps to explain why he was so troubled by a newborn baby making this prophecy true and went to the extreme of ordering the slaughter of all the young boys in Bethlehem later on in Matthew 2 (which is commemorated as the Feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28).

So how could I possibly connect with a man like this?  Because when I am struck with something troubling, I often react similarly in a scared, paranoid way.  When Herod got the news of the newborn king, he assembled all his experts, the chief priests and scribes.  What do I do? Go to Google, ask for advice on a Facebook group, text a friend, or call my mom.  Now none of these things are inherently wrong, but what's my motivation?  To get immediate wordly answers, instead of going to God in prayer or His Word first about how to best respond to the situation or discern what he is trying to teach me. 

What did Herod do next?  Ask the magi to do the work for him, find the Christ child then tell him where he is.  He manipulates and uses others to get them to meet his needs.  I know I've been guilty of that too.  Finally he's so desperate that he has all boys under two years old killed, an extreme act to control and preserve his security.  Unfortunately this is also a common way that I react to difficult situations, not in a violent way, but figuring out how I can take matters into my own hands instead of trusting in God's will and provision.

But in contrast, what do the magi do after their encounter with Jesus?  Obey the message from God in a dream not to return to Herod.  St. Joseph does this multiple times, in agreeing to take Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:20), take their family to Egypt (Matthew 2:13), and then to return to Nazareth (Matthew 2:22).  So as I continue to reflect on this story from God's word, I will look to the example of the magi instead and continue on my journey to seek and adore Jesus instead of trying to take matters into my own hands.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Feast of the Holy Family

I remember once as a child out shopping with my mom and thought it would be fun to play hide and seek in the clothing racks.  You can probably guess that she did not feel the same way.

Fast forward thirty years and I'm taking my three young kids to the zoo alone.  Turn to show my son the elephants, turn back, and my oldest isn't with me.  One of the most nerve-racking minutes of my life until I spot her a few yards ahead, walking without a care in the world.

In the Gospel for today I am reassured by Mary's words as she finds Jesus after days of searching for him, "Son, why have you done this to us?"  It was refreshing for me to read that she reacted the way I have to my kids when they have said or done something that they weren't supposed to do.  And even more so, I've reacted to God this way when something hasn't gone how I expected it to, when those prayers haven't been answered or I'm rocked by tragic news.  I'm also comforted that after Jesus's response to them that He was in His Father's house that his saintly parents didn't understand.  This has been a year full of instances where I've seen people in my life suffer and I go to God asking why it had to happen. 

On my nightstand right now is three different books related to parenting, a fourth is in my Amazon shopping list and I'm considering buying an app for moms. We're not going through a crisis or anything, but after spending time in the chapel this week I was convicted to seek more wisdom about the most godly ways to respond to our kids in the various situations that arise in our home, but with the mindset that our children belong to God first and they are not for me to control. 

During this Christmas season especially I ask for the intercessions of Saint Joseph and the Blessed Mother.  The couple that God chose to raise His son were human and experienced trials in their parenting, but as the Collect for today states, they were a "shining example" for us to imitate.  I am also looking to the second reading from St. Paul to the Colossians for practical ways to do this, engaging each other with forgiveness, love, and thanksgiving and instruction with God's word so we can live more like the Holy Family did.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

4th Sunday of Advent

When was the last time you read the book of Micah? Years ago I went through a plan to read the entire bible so I know that
I have read it before, but that was probably the only time.

On constant replay in our van right now is a children’s Christmas CD that is songs of just scripture. One of the songs comes
from this first reading. I love that from a young age my children will hear these words of prophecy dozens of times more than
I ever did.  I also love how the church fathers organize the readings throughout the liturgical year to teach us about God and
how the Bible is truly a story about His Son. A cross reference to the reading from Micah is Isaiah chapter 7, which was
another reading earlier this week prophesying the coming of Christ.

A theme of Christmas that has stood out to me in the last few years was Christ’s humility. My last three babies were all born
in the fall so I’ve had wee ones at Christmas multiple times, my son only being 6 weeks old. I think of how helpless and tiny
these newborns are and am amazed that the savior of the world came into the world to live among us the same way the rest of
us do. In the reading from Micah Bethlehem is the least in the lands of Judah. It’s where King David came from, and he was the
youngest and least among his own brothers. (So was Joseph in the book of Genesis.) God frequently uses those who appear to
be weak to do great things.

How does that apply to my own life? God has convicted me this year to grow in humility and uses my children to teach me
this often. I’ve worked with children for 25 years and have a two education degrees but that goes out the window trying to
raise my own.  The hours that I spend cleaning, cooking, and running errands feels mundane and unimportant, but keeping
our home running in a godly way is building up the domestic church. I see former colleagues advance in their careers while
I returned to the classroom, but just this week I received notes from former students thanking me for teaching them last year,
and I remember why I wanted to work directly with kids again.

At the end of the passage in Micah in verse 4 it says, “he shall be peace.” Instead of reacting to each unexpected situation
throughout the day, I am challenged to live as Mary and Elizabeth did, with joy and humility knowing that our Savior will
bring everlasting peace in any circumstance. One way that helps me is praying the Litany of Humility.

Monday, December 17, 2018

New Year's Resolution?

So I haven't posted to this blog in two years.  In that time I've changed jobs and had another baby, so I've been a little busy.  That new job is teaching at a Catholic school again.  For Advent this year different staff members signed up to write reflections on the daily Mass readings for everyone.  I jumped at the chance and really enjoyed the opportunity to dig into the same passage of Scripture repeatedly, meditate on it throughout the week and already be familiar with it on Sunday, especially since I am distracted by my kids most of the time.  While at Mass I was convicted to make this a weekly habit.  I know that life is going to get in the way sometimes (currently my bedroom is covered in a mountain of laundry and Christmas cards that need to get sent out) but I am going to try to make the time.  And if I use this blog as a way to post them, maybe I'll have a little bit of accountability to post them.  I'm already behind because I didn't post the reflections for Gaudete Sunday yesterday (a day that went very differently from what we originally planned earlier in the week) but the message of a rejoicing still applies as Christmas gets closer.

Today is also referred to as Gaudete Sunday, which comes from a Latin word meaning rejoice. You’ll notice this theme repeated in the first and second readings and responsorial psalm. We are just over a week away from Christmas and the time for celebrating Our Lord’s arrival is near.

But this doesn’t always feel like a joyful time. To do lists at work are long as we finish out the semester, there are extra financial burdens, and social media can put unrealistic expectations on creating the best memories, decorations, and meals. The holiday season can be a painful reminder of the loved ones who are no longer here to celebrate with us and hopes for 2018 that were unfulfilled.

Today’s second reading from Philippians is popular for good reason. No matter our circumstances we have reason to rejoice, because the Lord is near to us.  St. Paul knew this better than anyone, as he was in prison when he wrote this letter. For us, every time we pray, sing hymns, and read His Word, Christ is there.  We encounter Him every time we receive the Eucharist and worship in adoration. And He is present within all the people we encounter as we live out the words of today’s gospel and share the blessings we have with those in need.  I love that as a member of the POP community I have these opportunities with my co-workers and students all the time!

In the midst of this particularly busy time of year I am trying to remember to view this season of anticipation with joy as my young children and our students do. While they are more excited about presents and Santa (though I am trying to teach them otherwise!) I can rejoice knowing that my mighty savior is here.  One of my favorite ways to worship during Advent and Christmas is with the music of Chris Tomlin.  Take a few minutes today to listen and rejoice!

And now to get started for the 4th Sunday of Advent! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Almost one year later...

Look at that!  The last time I wrote anything was for Bubba's first birthday.  Over the weekend we celebrated his second birthday.  It was a couple weeks early because we had family in town to meet his new baby sister.  Because I am on leave with a newborn I was limited with time and money but was still able to out together a cute little construction themed party since he is all about anything that has wheels. Here's the Pinterest board that was my inspiration.

These are the signs that were scattered all over the house.

I was too cheap to buy caution tape but I found yellow streamers at home.  

I used trucks he had around the house for decoration. I bought the banner at Hobby Lobby.

My mom made a pumpkin pie.  She used dyed coconut for the grass.

The utensils were a big hit with the birthday boy!  I stacked 2 round chocolate cakes and used chocolate icing and crushed Oreos.

 Here are the treat bags. My hubby let me borrow a toolbox.

I found the hard hat at Hobby Lobby and made his dump truck shirt using iron transfer paper.

The weather was great and the kids had a blast playing outside.  Grateful for our birthday boy and all the friends and family that celebrated with us.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Dino-mite Birthday

We celebrated Bubba's birthday last weekend!  We were blessed with perfect weather.  Thanks to inspiration from Pinterest I was able to put together a nice dinosaur themed party with not a lot of effor or money.

I cut out some tracks leading up to the front door.  See the pumpkin we never carved from Halloween?

My wonderfully creative friend took care of the cake.  I made 2 chocolate round cakes. She used chocolate frosting and crushed chocolate chip cookies.  I bought the dinosaurs from Dollar Tree.
My sweet sister-in-law made cupcakes and we added dino tracks to them.
Lime sherbet and 7up for the Prehistoric Punch.

I bought dino-shaped chicken nuggets and the Bugles were a big hit!
The herbivores had a veggie tray.

My husband's aunt used the Cricut to make the dinosaurs and my friend drew the landscape..  About a year ago we took down the mirror that was in dining room and covered the area with chalkboard paint.

I used free dino themed printables.

It was the perfect day to play outside.  Poppa kept the kiddos entertained. 

Store-bought sugar cookies.  Right after I took them out of the oven Big Sis used a toy dinosaur to make fossil cookies for the treat bags.

Instead of gifts we asked for donations of diapers that we donated to a ministry for women in crisis pregnancies.  Our friends and family were very generous.  The best gift was being together to celebrate our sweet boy!  Next post will be an update on all the fun things the kiddos are learning.