Discerning an Extravagance

“You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”          John 12:8

Gospel-Reflections-800x800-gold-outlineOur family vacations have always been local and frugal. We figure it doesn’t require spending a lot of money to have time together, make memories, and escape the stress and responsibilities of everyday life. Subscribing to this viewpoint, it took a long time for my husband and me to even begin to consider a trip to Disney World.

When we did finally begin to think about it, we were completely shocked by how expensive the day passes were. Multiply that by five, and we were extremely grateful for the vacation fund we’d started three years before. However, this one trip was going to wipe out the whole thing. We kept asking ourselves whether it was worth it or not. Continue reading

Three Steps Ahead

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.    Proverbs 16:3

4.11.19 Three Steps Ahead

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

With my husband working out of his home office everyday, I come and go with work and kid pick-up, never giving it a second thought. I can because there’s always an adult in the house for my kids. That is, until a few weeks ago when my husband had to travel to Chicago.

I suddenly had to think three steps ahead. Unfortunately, I learned that isn’t enough. Continue reading

What Are You Willing to Give Up?

Published on CatholicMom.com

Then God said: Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you.    Genesis 22:2

4.3.19 What Are You Willing To Give Up Pixabay.com photo

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

My teen son, Zack, has an intense addiction to screens. The minute he wakes up in the morning, he wants to know when he will be able to play his allotted time on his electronics. This fixation overshadows everything. On his bad days, it even strips him of his creativity and patience.

It’s a double edged sword for me. On the one hand, I feed his obsession because I can use it as a motivational tool. That kid would scrub my bathroom floor with a toothbrush if it meant the reward of more screen time. On the other hand, if I hear, “When can I play screens?” one more time, I’m going to jump out a window!

As I struggle with how to manage the issue, I realize I can’t fault him all that much. He’s not the only one with an obsession that he puts first. Continue reading

A Seat at the Table

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.     Revelation 3:20

3.28.19 A Seat at the TableAs a family of five, there’s always an empty chair when we gather at the table for dinner. After saying grace one day, Jocelyn mentioned she imagines Jesus sitting in that seat, right next to her. I’ve imagined the same thing ever since.

There’s something powerful about visualization. The more we do it, the more real it can feel. With each passing day, Jesus becomes more tangible at our dinner table. I only wish I could make Him more tangible everywhere else. Continue reading

Could the Problem Be Me?

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:24

3.21.19 Could the Problem Be Me Pixabay

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

I’ve been using my Lenten devotional, “With Our Savior,”  with my kids each night at dinner. It’s generated some amazing conversations, some on topic, some not. In the process, my kids have revealed some things about themselves they’ve never put into words before. That’s God for you: He works wonders whenever we turn to Him, especially when we do so as a family.

One conversation had Mason revealing he cares too much about what other people think. It’s effecting him, and he’s buckling under the weight of it. Zack, on the other hand, admitted other people’s opinion of him doesn’t matter at all. After years of kids being unkind to him, he’s pulled back that part of himself that cares, slammed the door, locked it, and threw away the key.

It’s pretty amazing when you have two kids, raised in the same house, by the same parents, who end up on complete opposite ends of any given issue. That’s where we parents have to come in, gently guiding each of them back to center. I started with Zack the next day. Continue reading

Casting Out Our Nets

Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.”    Luke 5:5

3.14.19 Casting Out Our Nets

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Seriously?!!!” I texted my teen back. “You left your clarinet at home again? Sorry. But I’m not bringing it to you at school this time.”

We’ve all had this conversation with our kids a million times – just substitute whatever your recurring issues are, and the venue, be it in person, on the phone, or via text. It’s the most exasperating thing to have spent years and years and years teaching our kids certain things, to find out they go in one ear and out the other. It’s like the movie “Ground Hog Day” where the same story line plays out over and over again. We eventually hit a wall, and can’t muster the energy to repeat ourselves one more time.

These are the days we just want to wave the white flag of motherhood, and walk away from the battle forever. Continue reading