Monday, December 28, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Last night as we read the last scripture of the Jesse Tree and finished Bartholomew's passage, I felt such a weight off my shoulders. We've had such a meaningful Advent season. I felt like we really had prepared our children for this day. During the Children's Mass when Father Jim proclaimed the Gospel, telling of Mary laying baby Jesus in the manger, Bubby leaned over and exclaimed, "MOM! Baby Jesus is in the manger! It is Christmas now!!" For the first time in a long time, I was feeling such a sweet peace. I was able to enjoy the beauty of this season, without sweating Christmas morning. No longer was I worried about the whole Santa situation. I was feeling very liberated.
Then again, there was a tiny nag in the back of my mind. Wondering and hoping Christmas morning wouldn't be a let down for The General and Princess. I mean Santa is a pretty hard act to follow.
About 3/4 of the way through our gift opening Princess climbed into my lap and quietly whispered in my ear, "Mom, it is still magical."
Ahhh, all is right with the world.
Thank you Heavenly Father for the gift of your Son, and for the joy of sharing this sacred gift with our children.
Merry Christmas dear friends.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
UPDATE: We finished up Bartholomew's Passage on Christmas Day. It was nicely intertwined with the Jotham's Journey story. It wasn't as suspense filled as Jotham's Journey, but it did hold our attention. The devotional questions were thought provoking, which was a real help in getting our hearts ready for Christmas.
Overall, I am sticking by my thumb's up recommendation for the series. Now wish me luck in finding a copy of Tabitha's Travels for next year. . .I haven't seen this one is going back in for reprint. . .shoot.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
More importantly this has been a great lesson in sacrifice, and what it really means to be part of a family. We are not 5 separate people, sharing space. We are a whole family unit, and it takes all of us working together to experience success. For The General and Bubby to know that they may have given up play time, but it helped Princess come out of her show with a beaming smile on her face. Well, that is priceless.
This thought may be counter to what our culture believes, but I think it is by these very sacrifices that our children thrive. To know they are part of something bigger than themselves, that others rely and count on them for happiness. In my humble, okay maybe not so humble, opinion, we would have a whole lot less depressed children and teens if they too really felt they were important and belonged to a loving family.
Right now this is Princess season. She is our star in the show. The Nomads are rallying for her. Come spring she will be able to return the favor when baseball season rolls around. Then our All Star will be The General. That is just how it is when you are part of the family.
Friday, December 11, 2009
2. I'm so grateful that Bubby's chin seems to be healing up nicely. I'm praying it doesn't leave too noticeable of a scar.
3. The boys both have colds, which is a bummer. We are heading out to go caroling at a nursing home this afternoon, and I'm going to have to leave them home. Which makes me sad for two reasons. First, The General doesn't get the opportunity to serve the community. Something I think we really need to do more. Two, the residents don't get to see Bubby sing Jingle Bells. Oh, that is the tragic part. When I'm old, I hope mommas with little toddlers come to sing to me.
4. I have gotten a few gifts for Christmas, but still have a significant amount of shopping to do. I am hopeful a huge space of time will open up in the next week, or I could be screwed. (Sorry for the foul language, but I can't think of anything more descriptive of my current lack of readiness.)
5. Have I told you lately how much I adore my MIL? I talked to her today about Christmas prep, and I'm certain she is a saint. She's bringing her recipe box, and we will go grocery shopping after we pick them up at the airport next week. Food planning for the holiday--check.
6. I recently had a talk with a friend who really has a stinker for a MIL, which makes me feel even more grateful. The talk made me realize how I have come to love K. as my own mother. She is like a gift from God, a sort of replacement for the lack of nurturing my own mother was unable to provide.
7. Our Advent is going smoothly. For the first time EVER, we have stuck to the Jesse Tree. Not bad for 7 years of attempts. (Remember when I told you I was a bit slow?) We are also LOVING Bartholomew's Passage. It is the highlight of our evening. Come to think of it, it may be the reason we stay on track with the Jesse Tree. What ever the case, I am just thankful that we are having a meaningful Advent.
If you'd like to read others Quick Takes click here.
Have a wonderful weekend. I hope to be back to bloggy world soon. I know it may sound a bit corny, as I don't REALLY know you, but I am missing my blog friends. I've only had a few moments so skim your posts, with no time for comments. :( You know me, I have a big mouth--backed with lots of opinions. The pressure of no comment is building. . .
Monday, December 7, 2009
Now, I had grand ideas on how I was going to answer this question. Looking up great stuff, and tying it to links. Alas, as my Grandma B. used to say, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I fear I am on THE road.
In my defense this mommy thing has really been busy. Mr. Nomad was gone on a trip, we had our F.A.I.T.H. class, and Princess is in the throws of Nutcracker rehearsals. Who would have thought a little mouse, scurry, scurry, scurrying about would need so much practice? So, I've been patiently waiting for this afternoon to blog away.
Enter Bubby and our first visit here to the ER. Yes, I am proud to say I made it over a year without visiting an emergency room. It may be a record for me. The Nomad Kiddos keep me on friendly terms with those nice ER people. Luckily, it wasn't anything a little Dermabond couldn't fix up. It also helps having the ER charge nurse as a good friend and neighbor.
I've never had such a quick trip in and out of the ER. Her being the charge nurse, and the fact that I had her sick child at my house. She gave them the ultimatum: Either get this little guy in and out, or I have to go home and take care of my own sick child. Interestingly enough, they had no problem with Bubby coming in, quickly being seen and booted out the door. I love efficiency.
Now here I am with another day winding down, and I still need to study for my class tomorrow. So instead of that great link filled answer, this is what I have to offer.
Brenda, yes I do sometimes disagree with people at church. However, the beauty of the Catholic Church is there are definite answers to questions. Those answers lie not only in the Bible, but also in the Catechism of the Catholic Church--based on our tradition. So when I don't necessarily see eye to eye, I call one of my smart Catholic friends and pick their brain on church doctrine. We have even been known to consult a priest (thanks Phil!) when we were stumped.
Most importantly, I have learned to try and keep my mouth shut until I get my facts straight. (Read: Tami has had numerous open mouth, insert foot moments.) Not that this is an issue for you, but it is a BIG issue for me. The saying, "God gave you two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk." Well, I think that one was meant just for me!
So what do I do when I disagree with church authority or doctrine? Again shut mouth, dig deeper. Most times what I have found is this: When I take the time to explore and learn more about either the situation or church doctrine, it makes sense. An example would be the church's firm stance on birth control. For many years I just ignored church doctrine on this issue, thinking it really didn't work for me. (Stop laughing at me, people. I know I'm a bit dense sometimes.) However, after developing friendships with very devout Catholic women, and learning more about why the church teaches this, I realized the beauty and perfection in this plan.
I could go on and on, I'm pretty opinionated. So there have been many areas of enlightenment for this girl. Of course this submission to my faith has not been an overnight occurrence. I converted to Catholicism before Mr. Nomad and I were married, but I cannot say that I really became Catholic until I began teaching my children about our faith. When I started dipping into the history, the tradition, and the meaning of the rituals and sacraments, it was then I was hooked. Now I cannot imagine anything else.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
So in the spirit of Ask Sister Mary Martha, here we go.
Tessa commented: Catholicism as... they love Mary more then they ever pay attention to Christ and then work their heaven w/ good deeds. I would love to know more about YOUR Catholic faith!!! Because, like I said, I am always very confused about that religion.
I think the key word here is confusion. Many people see a snippet of the Catholic faith, do not understand it, or study to find the truth, and are left with misconceptions. Here is my poor attempt at clearing that up. We'll start with Mary and the saints.
We Catholics do not worship Mary, but we do place her in high esteem. For she is the mother of our Lord. When we pray to the saints and Mary it isn't that we think they are equal to God. Rather, it is a lot like calling up your mom and saying, "I'm having a hard time, could you pray for me?" We do this because we believe we are in communion with the saints, and they can hear our prayers. (Basically just because they are dead doesn't mean they can't hear us.) Being they were very godly people, they will pray for us. Very much like your most trusted Christian friend. You know, the one who just lights up the room with their spirit. Mary and the saints are always pointing us in the direction of Jesus. It is our hope as Catholics that we would follow the example of the wonderful lives they lived for Christ.
As for the good deeds, we Catholics, like most Christians, are very aware there is NOTHING we could ever do that would be good enough to get us into heaven. Jesus died on the cross, and without that gift we would all be in some serious trouble. Through Baptism we are covered by that grace.
However, as a follower of Christ we are called to action. Jesus didn't say, "just believe in me and you are good to go." He calls us to "love thy neighbor as thyself." Which is where the good deeds come in. Catholics believe we are to practice the seven corporal works of mercy.
1. Feed the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty
3. Clothe the naked
4. Shelter the homeless
5. Visit the sick
6. Visit those in prison
7. Bury the dead
This tradition is based on Mt 25:34 “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ’Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ’Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?’ And the king will answer them, ’Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me.’”
Tessa, thanks so much for asking these questions. Like you pointed out, just because someone says they are Catholic or Christian or whatever the label, doesn't necessarily mean they are practicing in the true spirit of their church. What I have found over the years is many Catholics have a poor understanding of church doctrine. They know what they are supposed to do, but don't really know the history or reasoning behind the ritual or belief. Let's cut them a little slack though. Seriously, there is over 2,000 years of history and tradition to cover.
Hey, let's be honest here. When you are talking the mysteries of Christ, well it gets heady. Which is why I love the Catholic Church. There are all of these REALLY smart people who help me to sort through it all, and figure it out. Sure it is messy. We, like every other faith out there, have some serious sinners in our midst (me being one of them). But when you get rid of the mess and sin, and study to find the true teachings of the church, you just can't go wrong. I don't have enough space on this blog to express my love of the rituals and sacraments of the church.
I think so many times we are always looking at differences instead of common ground. I often wonder what God thinks when He looks down and sees His children divided. My hope is that as Christians we can come to know the truth of Christ and one day be united. Then we would have a bit more of heaven here on earth.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Last week, while we were going over Matthew Chapter 8, there were some fabulous insights I just have to share. In this chapter of Matthew, Jesus begins performing some of his miracles of healing people. One of the first people he heals is a leper. So began the discussion of the significance of it being a leper who is healed. Especially the symbolism tying the disease of leprosy to sin. Leprosy is a slow degeneration of body tissue, while sin is the decomposition of our souls. (Little wow moment.)
While we were mulling over this point, a very wise young woman (how did she get so stinking smart--she's only 24!?!?) brought up this point. The biggest danger of leprosy is it makes your body numb. So you may bump into something, and it may cause a sore. This in turn may get infected, and then you may die from infection. If we use that same example, tied to the concept of sin. Hmmm. . .sin numbs me to sinful ways. Which in turn causes me to sin more, and before I know it I may be slowly causing the death of my soul. (BIG WOW MOMENT!) Isn't that powerful?
We all sat there quietly letting this soak in. We were all contemplating what things have I numbed myself to with sin. Could it be a movie that was a little questionable? How about just a few gossipy words to a friend? Or was it the shortness with my husband or children? You get the idea.
I am so grateful for this time to study and learn. More than that I'm eternally grateful God sent His Son for me over 2000 years ago. Thankfully, I am covered in His grace. Although I fall short time after time, He ALWAYS loves me and forgives. Because of His deep love and devotion, I long to be more like Him. . .less of my selfish me. Which means I need to take even those little transgressions seriously. I want to feel alive in Christ, not numb in this crazy world.