Christ is Risen!
Truly He is Risen!
On this Easter Monday I am…
::Chris working so hard planting our small orchard (I really need to update our farm blog. I have decided to let the older children who have been so involved in the planning and planting to contribute over there as well.)
::a new sheet for our bed (I must have shrunk the old one because no matter which way I put it on the bed, by the next morning it was off at the corners. That one little thing would start my day off wrong.)
::giving Chris a haircut
::Leo walking around the yard
40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life: Living the 48 Principle
(My soul sister and I are reading through this together)
Holiness for Housewives: And Other Working Women
(Our March book club read that we barely discussed)
Practice of the Presence of God, The
(Our April book club selection)
Right now I have a Blueberry French Toast Casserole in the oven. Hopefully it’s good because we’re all waiting patiently for it.
I did not necessarily make a meal plan this week. I shopped for a few things like cheese, milk, frozen fruit…still spent too much money. We have lots of beans, flour and venison burger so my plan is to cook from that and hopefully save some money.
Praying for my children…hard. We have an upcoming event which is already causing some of my children some fear and anxiety. Not to mention just how hard this world is on growing children. Satan is moving and working in every corner of the world, the church included or especially.
In addition to wrapping my children in prayer, I am making Granny Squares to wrap them in.
I’m pondering the Scriptures. I hear people use the phrase, “There’s an app for that.” Well I don’t own anything that needs or has “app capability” but no matter the need, “There’s a Scripture for that.”
Catholic Land Movement
Link up and share a bit of your life.
Emily | A Year of Living Adventurously
This is one of those mysteries that you can ponder for a long time and never quite finish pondering it. The “preaching of the kingdom” covers just about everything in the gospels: the Sermon on the Mount, the parables, the cures, the Loaves and Fishes, the Bread of Life discourse–all of Jesus’ preaching and activities. In that sense, it’s an easy mystery to pray, because you can pick your favorite image or story or event and meditate on that.
But I think it’s also fruitful to use this to ponder our own sense of mission. For nuns and sisters, it’s their prayer and their apostolate that is their preaching. For married women, it’s their married life, and growing in holiness with their husbands; for a mother, it’s taking care of her family, and raising her kids to know God and to be devout Catholics. For the single, it can be a little harder, but we are all called to holiness, to prayer, and to bringing that to the world.
In the Dominican order (of which I am a part), we believe that you must fill your own well first, then bring it to others. St. Thomas Aquinas gave us the phrase ‘contemplate and share with others the fruit of your contemplation.’ So we have to pray, study, and live the Gospel ourselves before we can go out and give it to others. In secular parlance, you can see it as having to take care of yourself, before you can take care of others.
We can see this clearly in the second Greatest Commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” As yourself. How do you love yourself? Do you take care of your spiritual, physical, and emotional needs? Do you beat yourself up constantly, thinking that everything you do is wrong, that you are unlovable?
Meditate on this mystery and realize that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to us. That is immense, unchangeable love! God loves you as you are. You are so important to Him. Go to Him in prayer, in study, in lectio, and fill your own well. Realize that God has placed you here to serve Him and preach to others in your own unique way.
St. Teresa of Avila said that she found God among the pots and pans. In that same way, Jesus went among our pots and pans–our daily lives–and ministered. He preached everywhere He went. He used the basic things of life–loaves and fishes, bread and wine–to work His miracles.
In our own lives, we can preach in the most basic things. Doing our jobs well, making dinner for our family, even having coffee with a friend and providing a listening ear. Everything we do can be sanctified, and we don’t need to pass out tracts to do it.
Holiness is attractive–real holiness. That’s something we can work toward.Jesus preached the kingdom to us so that we could know it, know HIm and His Father, and then follow Him. Following involves telling others what we have heard and seen.
In 10 days we’ll celebrate Easter. Mary Magdalene on that morning ran back to the Apostles and said that Christ has risen. She brought them news of the kingdom, indeed. Let’s realize how much God loves us, and use that love to motivate us to preach the kingdom in our own small corners of the world.
Good Evening Ladies. Habemus Papam! God Bless Pope Francis! (Am I the only one who cannot say “Pope Francis” without saying “Pope Saint Francis?”)
Have you started reading our book club selection for the month yet? I remember reading Holiness for Housewives: And Other Working Women when my oldest was 2 and little did I know, but my baby at the time would be a big sister to five more children! I think it is long overdue that I re-read this book.
In the introduction, the author states this book is for women, “…although burdened with the cares of the household, are anxious to serve God seriously and advance in the practice in of prayer.”
Hmm…”…anxious to serve God seriously…” I have to say that stopped me quick. I am anxious about many things (Just call me Martha).
But am I anxious to serve?
Am I anxious to serve God?
Am I anxious to serve God seriously?
I am telling you all, this book is coming along at the right time in my life. Have I told you I’m tired? See I can do that here. I don’t have to put on my Walmart face in front of you all. I can tell you I’m tired and your response is not going to be, “Well, you know what causes that (meaning children) and there are ways to stop that you know!” No, your answer is going to be about grace. And I’ll take your grace and raise you some grace and not one of us will fold in this wonderful game of life will we?
“If the mother looks upon her children as obstacles to the prompt response to grace, she is missing the whole point.”
Holiness for Housewives: And Other Working Women
And thanks be to God there is this awesome community here at Suscipio that will make sure to gently remind each other, what exactly the whole point is.
“The only thing that really matters in life is doing the will of God. Once you are doing the will of God, then everything matters…So if God wills that you should be bowed over the sink instead of over the pew in your favorite church, then washing dishes is for you, now, the most perfect thing you can do.”
Holiness for Housewives: And Other Working Women
WOW! How does that change things sisters?
So since God wills I should be changing a diaper–it is the most perfect thing I can do…unless I complain and act grumpy and then there is no perfection in that menial act. Oh get this! My attitude towards the Will of God can either sanctify (Definition:hold in highest esteem Synonyms:absolve, anoint, bless, cleanse, consecrate, dedicate, deify, enshrine, glorify, hallow, purify, set apart, worship) my actions or make them a menial task to begrudgingly get over with and move on to the next unhappy chore of life.
When Emily mops, her act of submitting to the will of God to mop her apartment, glorifies God.
When LuAnne prepares her music, that task becomes worship of God.
I hope we make it through this book in a months time, but it seems like the next sentence is better than the last!
“The whole business of serving God becomes simply a matter of adjusting yourself to the pressures of existing conditions. This is the particular sanctity for you. You will be tempted to say that it is impossible to serve God while worrying about the upkeep of a house; you will tell me that you get so irritable that you cannot see this principle of substituting your present duty for the envied prayer time; you will point out your inability to direct your intention toward God when you are so exhausted that you cannot think; you will quote your repeated failures, your bitterness, your manifest decline from what you were before you came to be overwhelmed with household cares. You will say you are unsuited temperamentally, physically, spiritually, by training…But none of these things disqualifies. It can only be repeated that your whole business is still to look for God in the midst of all this. You will not find Him anywhere else. If you leave your dishes, your housekeeping, your telephone calls, your children’s everlasting questions, your ironing, and your invitations to take care of themselves while you go off and search for the Lord’d presence in prayer, you will discover nothing but self.” (emphasis mine)
Holiness for Housewives: And Other Working Women
Ok, it’s getting late. So, what do you think about the book so far?
Share your tips on sanctifying your work.
Welcome to Monday’s at Suscipio. Link up your own version of an online Daybook or journal or share in the comments. Take time to visit each other and offer encouragement to each other for the week. Let’s get started…
Thanking God for
::a warm fireplace to congregate with our God family
::Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Pulled Pork for a very satisfying lunch/dinner
::the dedication of a loving priest who has enthusiastically welcomed and abundantly provided and continues to provide for our parish family
::crochet lessons from my neighbor who is also my friend (Crochet “lessons” sounds way more formal than it actually is. Really we sit at our table and talk and crochet together.)
::Giving a ride home to 2 homeschool boys in our group and hearing the book suggestions fly back and forth across the rows of seats in the van.
::naps to catch up on sleep lost last week when everyone had colds
The Hermitage Within
(This book may take a while. I had not even made it past the first page and needed to make a call to my spiritual director.)
Pondering, Praying and Thinking Out-Loud
I am in need of a change. Change does not necessarily mean ditching what I’m doing now. In my case, that would be a bad thing. But I do need to make some changes…now.
I started Suscipio last year when I had a 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, 3 and baby tucked up tight in the womb. I now have an almost 15 year old, high school freshman down to a–now walking–one year old and everybody in between, plus a handsome husband and then there’s me. To say I am needed would be an understatement.
In addition to all that goodness of a growing family–this past year has also worn me down and beaten me up. Friends I thought were life long–kiss on each other’s grand babies life long–openly mocked and maligned me, lied to me and about me, sabotaged my children’s birthday party, publicly questioned our parenting and forced our hand to make decisions we never thought we would have to make.
I am tired of my children finding me on the computer. This is not entirely Suscipio’s doing, but Suscipio does take some time. I am tired of telling my children, “Just a minute.” I am tired of Leo cruising around the dinning room chairs to get to me at the computer. Suscipio has begun to feel more like a burden more than a creative, communal outlet. And that’s not good.
But getting rid of Suscipio is not a valid answer. I spoke recently with my husband and my spiritual director extensively about Suscipio. These two men know my innermost self. And both of these men were very clear in the fact that Suscipio serves a good. This good is two-fold.
Suscipio has provided a place for Catholic women to come together and share their stories, their prayers and their heart. The body of Christ working together to encourage, teach and learn from each other is a good thing.
Suscipio has also provided me a creative outlet. Without a creative outlet, I become a burden to myself…you understand? I am daily encouraged by the comments you all leave for each other. I am in the front row for each story, pulling out the nuggets I can apply to my own life. And I’m always humbled by your generous prayers for each other. I honestly feel like there is no place else on the web like Suscipio.
So how to reconcile my need to continue Suscipio and my need to respond to the call of wife and mother in my own little Domestic Church?
Well, the first step is to grant myself grace. I say myself, because I know you all already do. Here’s how I need to grant myself some breathing room. If I don’t get a post up…that’s ok. If I get a post up late…that’s ok. If the Book Club post goes up on Thursday instead of Wednesday…that’s ok. If I am the only one talking about the book…that’s ok. If…If…If…that’s all ok. I can walk away from the computer mid-post and pick it back up an hour later, or a day later or two days later. I can post a picture on my personal blog without feeling guilty because I have not done anything on Suscipio for the day.
So you are maybe wondering why I had to make this big long post to say, “Things may look a little different around here, but Suscipio is still here.” I needed to say all this because Suscipio would not be here with out you all and I needed to let you all know what had been rolling around my head for the past couple of months.
Monday Sunday Night, in Lent, I am…
Thanking God For
::dancing wind chimes on the front porch
::reading aloud to Chris, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
::“Cold Coming On” soup for kids and daddy with colds
::recliner in front of the fire place to sit up with a stuffy baby
::a friend who lives near by calling with an offer to pick up something…anything to help us out
“It is the Bible that provides the best book for private prayer. The best way to feed prayer is to ponder the words of Scripture. Carmelites (in fact all Christians) make the great mistake in trying to practice “the presence of God” without sustaining it by the Word of God.”
Lectio Divina and the Practice of Teresian Prayer
I am learning to crochet, again. Obviously I never really learn how to crochet or I would not need to “relearn” each time I feel the need to crochet something. My very sweet and super patient neighbor is teaching me to crochet Granny Squares. (Since my house has been down with a cold, I have been watching videos on the internet). I have this very grand idea. I do not want a long term commitment project like a scarf or blanket…boring. But I want to make something. Granny Squares seem like the perfect project. I can make a couple a day, theoretically; the girls can make some too, and once we have a substantial pile of Granny Squares, we’ll connect them to make a blanket.
It’s March! This month we will be memorizing the traditional Prayer to St Joseph. I hope to get our memorization helps posted this week. My plan was this weekend, but a house full of my people with a cold changed all that.
Obviously we have already started praying for the Conclave of Cardinals and our next Holy Father. And I’m just praying as the needs come: a friend here, a child there, an urgent request for health, a quiet request for peace.
Tamar Adler–a friend gave me this link, she said the roasted veggies are amazing so I have her book on hold at the library
40 Breakfast Casserole Recipes–I know we need a great breakfast every morning, so I am going to make up a bunch of breakfast casseroles and freeze them. Put them in the fridge the night before and then put them in the oven first thing in the morning..Breakfast!
In the Garden
Chris went and got a truck bed full of free mulch on Saturday (obviously before he realized the kids had shared their cold with him). Can I say it was lovely? It was warm and smoky, earthy and woodsy scented. We got the idea from that movie I linked to, Back to Eden. We’ve always heard how important mulch is, but never thought much about it. But that movie is so convincing!
How I Spent My Weekend
Join us each Monday as we record our days in a Catholic Woman’s Almanac.
The last chapter of our February book, Hallowed Be This House: Finding Signs of Heaven in Your Home, The Bedroom. Thomas Howard again emphasizes the constant theme, “My life for yours.”
As a married woman, mother of 7, my thoughts on the bedroom will look differently than Emily’s and I would hope that Miss Emily would please share all her wonderful thoughts with us in the comments or in a post I can link to. (Yeah! Emily took the bait and wrote about the bedroom from a single woman’s perspective.)
This total self giving, or at least the supposed self giving, can take many forms in the bedroom. Howard begins with talk of conception and comes full circle to talk of death. Both are a laying down of life…or a beginning of a new life. And so the bedroom is rightly called a place of beginnings and ends.
This total giving of self, hhmmm…How many times does our gift of self dissipate before the door even shuts behind us? And our husband, well, he’s left with the crumbs…Oh, and we want the lights out even though we’re already covered by an old gym shirt and years of insecurity?
And when we do have the lights on, what do they reveal? Is our bedroom junk drawer of the house? Laundry scattered, toys strewed, papers stacked here and there and a night stand with a tower of dusty books reaching higher and higher as if infused with the same magic Jack and his infamous beanstalk were?
The saying goes the kitchen is the heart of the home. I contend the bedroom is the heart of the family. If there is discord in the bedroom…there will be discord in the family.
Right before Leo was born I started making my bed regularly, turning on some soft Gregorian Chant and using a candle warmer to set the mood for our bedroom. Now, Chris could care less about any of the stuff. But for me, it made my bedroom a sanctuary. Now, since Leo’s birth, my bed is not made regularly, some days I forget the music or candle warmer…and the bedroom loses its oasis like qualities; it has just become another room in the house. It is not set apart as a mysterious sacred space in which the whole family benefits.
And your bedroom is a sacred space. It is in the bedroom we become co-creators with God. (Without being vulgar, I realize there are other rooms in the house in which intimacy can be achieved.) The bedroom most clearly express the reoccurring theme of laying our life for another in two very distinct ways.
And in the rite of conception, we can see, as we have seen in a dozen other exchanges and acts around the house, the whole story in one little act. Here, life is “laid down” quite dramatically, in order that the life of love may be born anew, and that literal new life may come into being. The exactness of the picture is astonishing, not to say amusing: both bodies laid down, like the corn of wheat; both laid open, like the corn of wheat. Vulnerability, defenselessness, giving and receiving–nay, giving and receiving wholly indistinguishable from each other, for who will keep tally in these blissful exchanges to make sure the score is even? My life laid down for you; our two lives laid down, becoming one life, and in this laying down and union, lo, the springing forth of new life. My service to you turning out to be joy. Your life laid down for me turning out to be joy. Your acceptance of me being itself your gift to me.
Hallowed Be This House: Finding Signs of Heaven in Your Home
And the two distinct ways our life is laid down? One, when we lay down our life, we do so with the least shred of pride. There is not time to think of self, only of the one whom we are willing to sacrifice our very life for. And yet how often do we shun a compliment from our husband? Dress quietly behind the bathroom door or wait until it’s dark? How often do we never fully relax and enjoy the most intimate of moments–two bodies becoming one? And so we have not truly laid our life down…we’ve covered it in thick blankets of wool and darkness. We’ve kept a part of ourselves hidden so as not to be hurt, laughed at or scorned. We assessed the risk and figured it to be of too great a price. The sacrifice of our life has not been made. We kept a part of ourselves back.
We may not be willing to splay ourselves in front of the body we vowed unity, but we push ourselves wide open to bring forth a new life…the second way we lay our life down in the bedroom. Each new soul that enters a family brings its own special set of graces…it also demands its own special set of sacrifices. This pregnancy may demand the physical sacrifice of the very food we eat; nine months permeated with bouts or days or even months of nausea. And yet another pregnancy may seemingly demand very little but the colicky baby more than makes up for the nine months of expectant bliss.
We easily see the need a child has for us to sacrifice all: sleep, comfort, self…in order to care for the defenseless. But what about our husbands? They have the same need of us. They need our complete sacrifice as well. And they are just as defenseless. Just as defenseless as we are when we slip under the sheet in the skin we came into the word. The baby and the grown man, both vulnerable in the skin God gave ‘em. Our men are at their most vulnerable and they cry…only silently. They want to be completely accepted. They want to be totally needed. They want unconditional love. We do not deny these things to a creamy white skinned baby, why deny them to the grown man?
Well, “He can hurt me like a baby can’t,” we may contend. And yet we carry that same power. Our wicked tongues compare them or tear them down as they lay naked next to us. Or our own bodies stiffen as they approach. The “closed” sign slapped in their face.
Each sacrifice, one of laying with our man and one of laying down to bring forth man–none the more sacred than the other. The process of bringing new life into the world emanates from the sacrifice of being totally known. It is no coincidence the Bible says “Adam knew his wife.” And that one little word brings me back to my initial thought…the bedroom is the heart of the family. This “knowledge” must be rightly ordered or the family will suffer various forms of disorder.
I almost hate to bring this up…Years ago when I would watch Dr Phil, he said something one time that made so much sense. I will paraphrase to make it less crude. Basically, if things are going fine in the bedroom, that part of your marriage equals about 10%. If things are going poorly, it’s about 90%.
The bedroom is the heart of the family.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, this chapter on the bedroom. I’m sorry this post was so late in coming up, I couldn’t quite get the words together. Hopefully I did now.
Several years ago I read a life changing post written by Elizabeth Foss, “Tell Me Again Why Bother?” Well, it at least changed my life that day. And then like so many life changing posts, it was soon, life as usual. Except I printed this life changing post off and stuck it somewhere for safe keeping. Every so often through the years I get a great big surprise when I come across it again…and it convicts me each and every time I read it. And I put it somewhere safe, because the gold nuggets of homemaking wisdom are of such value. And then the cycle repeats itself over and over again. I tuck it away only to forget about it and then come across it when I need to read it…put it away for safe keeping…you get the point.
Reading that introduction would make me think I was a highly unorganized person. In reality, I try so hard to be neat and organized that I am forever looking for and trying the next great method or philosophy of keeping a home. I stand up straight and tall like Washington crossing the Delaware, boldly and rather proudly declare, “This will get me on the right track and keep me there or my name is not momma!”
Our housekeeping routines are crucial to the smooth functioning of our days, our weeks. Life in a well-ordered home does shine. Radiance streams into our lives like the grace of God. Ordering a home isn’t something you do once and it stays that way. Instead, it’s a continual commitment. ~Elizabeth Foss
I love lists and color coded papers and felt tip pens and spirals and binders and I’d rather look around the office supply store over a clothing store any day. Each shelf is bursting with the possibility of organization. And organization is what this momma likes to see.
There are entire websites and Pinterest Boards dedicated to the beauty of organized living. And it is beautiful. God is a God of order and this life is a valley of natural disorder. Thus the constant struggle…bringing order to disorder.
So I try my best and lots of days I fail. How do I know I fail? Well, other than the obvious clutter; when I tell my children we need to clean up the house really well and they ask, “Who is coming over?” that’s a pretty good sign I have taught them we clean up or keep a clean home for the wrong reasons.
Cleaning up for company is a good. But keeping things neat and tidy for the souls that live and move and have their being here everyday…that’s better.
The Flylady talks about CHAOS–the “Can’t Have Anybody Over Syndrome.” Certainly, it would be a shame to not be able to have anybody over. But a greater shame, I think, is to neglect the people who actually live in a house by being a poor steward of both time and treasure. A greater shame is for a hard working man to have to pick his way around the mess as he makes his way to a disheveled bedroom. A greater shame is to throw a meal at the kids and run to work on an outside project while they eat. ~Elizabeth Foss
Elizabeth goes on to quote Sir 26:1-18, also known as the “Blessed the Husband of a Good Wife” verses. She states,
I cannot reconcile these beautiful verses with the idea that being busy with other projects excuses us from welcoming our husbands into well-ordered homes. I’m not talking about a mom with two toddlers and a baby who is struggling to keep up and feels like she’s losing the fight. That’s a season during which both husband and wife will grow. I’m talking about the veteran mom with a range of ages of children who makes choices every day to neglect her home. That is simply the fruit of bad habits and misplaced priorities. ~Elizabeth Foss (emphasis mine)
I am so glad I came across this post as we finish out our focus for February, the home. This is also a very timely post to reread each Lent. Holy Mother Church is so awesome. The cleaning of spiritual cobwebs in preparation for Easter happily coincides with a natural desire to clean our homes in anticipation for Spring.
I want to close with what I consider to be the heart of Elizabeth’s “Why Bother” post.
I want to be a gracious wife, not just a gracious hostess. Not just a lovely face to the public, but a comfort and a blessing to my husband. So, why bother with homemaking? Because God call us to be virtuous wives and He tells us that virtuous wives live in well-ordered homes. ~Elizabeth Foss
Feast of St Matthias
Thanking God for:
::some friendships that have weathered a very rough year
::laughing with my husband
::a very generous donor at my daughters bake sale for a local homeschooling family who unexpectedly lost their husband/father
::not getting sprayed by a skunk
Saturday night Chris and I came home and I went over to the chicken coop to put a water bucket back inside the coop. As I walked up to the coop, flashlight in hand, I saw a skunk! Inside the coop! I shined the light on him or her, I did not get close enough to tell the difference…how do you tell the difference? Anyway, I saw him (or her) slip under the wall into an adjoining, vacant coop. Someone had left a 4 wheeler over there, so I got on it to ride back to the house. But it was cold and it didn’t want to start. So I ran back to the house yelling “Chris! Skunk! Chris! Skunk!” Of course he didn’t hear me because we have six talking children and a babbling baby. I ran in the house yelling “Skunk!!” so Chris grabbed his shotgun, told a kid to hold the dog and the rest to stay inside the house. We went back over to the coop and the skunk had slipped under a fence and was out in the field. I held the flashlight while Chris shot the skunk. Sunday afternoon Chris and the boy went over to the coop and filled in a couple of holes with concrete.
“The devil loves to fish in troubled waters.” The children and I listened to a sermon the other day during lunch and the priest used that phrase.
I am praying for my children. This world is a tough place. This world tells you, you have to to keep up. This world will turn on you and drop you in a heartbeat.
Chris said the weather is getting ready to get interesting: rain, snow, blizzard conditions all expected this week.
Ok, you have got to watch this video, Back to Eden. I know, it’s an hour and 45 minutes, it is so worth it if you garden or want to garden.
I told you all how much Chris hated my pajama’s so I threw them out, well I bought a pair of fleecy pajama pants and a super soft tee shirt to go with it. Chris likes these. I have my hair back in a wet pony tail and some house slippers on my cold feet.
I ordered some shampoo bar samples from Apple Valley Natural Soap. I washed my hair Friday and Sunday with it. So far it’s ok. Friday was much better. I used an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse on Friday and my hair felt lovely. Sunday I did not, at first, but had to go back and rinse with the ACV. It feels better than before the rinse.
My sister came over last week and showed me how to make soap. Here are the Lavender Oatmeal Bars I made.
Link up or share your own version of the Catholic Woman’s Almanac in the comments. Have a great week ladies.